Saturday, May 26, 2007

Favourite French Phrases

This post was prompted by Jamon on SansGod.
Favourite French Phrases - does that mean the phrases that the French like to use or my favorite French Phrases?
I've noticed a few phrases the french use a lot:
"en principe"; "normalment"; "a priori"; "si tous va bien" and they all mean the same thing "normally", "in principle", "all else being equal". If ever you ask a frenchman for an estimate of time or cost he'll hedge it with one of those phrases.
English people often pepper their sentences with "right?" as in "I was walkin down the road, right? And I saw Dennis, right?" Well the french do the same thing, but with the phrase "tu vois" - "you see?" "tu prend le pain, tu vois, et tu le tartine tu vois" And the "tu vois" gets contracted down so it sounds like "tu as"
French equivalents of "err" or "um" are "beh" or "eh beh". Makes them sound like a flock of sheep. a combination like "eh beh, dis donc, quand meme" would be the same as "yes, well, no, fine". or "yeah but, no but"

Of my personal favourite phrases are the ones said when swearing or frustrated. "C'est pas possible" is the french equivalent of Victor Meldrew's "I don't believe it!" "putain de merde! Ca me fait schier" is about as strong as you can get. When translated literally - "Whore of shit! That makes me shit!" it doesn't seem too harsh. But I uppose if you've been brought up with old ladies fainting at the sound of you saying something gives you the shits, then it probably seems ruder.

My wife's favorite french phrase is "n'importe quoi" which literally means "anything". It's difficult to translate but makes sense when you hear it in context. It can translate as the sulky teenager saying "whatever". but if someone says "ne lisez pas n'importe quoi" it would mean "don't read just any old thing"
If someone has done something really stupid, you can shake your head and say "n'importe quoi". If a shift at the tile factory makes shoddy tiles I could say "ils fabriquent n'importe quoi" They'll make any old crap.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Organ Donors swamp hospitals in aftermath of pop star's death

A young singer called Grégory Lemarchal died in April. He suffered all his life with "mucoviscidose" a genetic lung disease that I can't find a translation for. He was 19 when he won the television talent show "Star Acadamy" in 2004.

He had been waiting for a lung transplant when he died, but there were none available because of the lack of donors.
The agency for organ and tissue transplants - la Fédération des associations pour le don d'organes et des tissus humains (ADOT) says that since his death there have been 33000 demands for donor cards, compared with 54000 for the whole of 2006.
He was a good singer, and for someone with a terminal lung disease he could push out a big sound.

How could they resist

Surely the sub-eds must have been tempted to go with the headline "Chinese Whispers"?

A quirky story about a rumour that bananas in China are carrying a SARS-liike virus. Spread by text it has cause banana prices in China to tumble.

Producers in Hainan say the resulting price slump is costing them up to 20 million yuan ($US2.6m) a day.
China's Agriculture Ministry has dismissed the Sars claim as baseless. Police are investigating its source.
"It is utterly a rumour," a Chinese Health Ministry official was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
"There has not been a case in the world in which humans have contracted a plant virus, and there is not any scientific evidence."
Hainan bananas had already been subject to rumours they caused cancer, after the banana plantations were hit by blight earlier this year.
The banana fears come amid international concerns over tainted Chinese exports, including allegations of poisons in pet food and toothpaste.
The state-owned China Daily newspaper recently criticised China's food safety regulators and called on the government to do more to protect Chinese consumers.

In typical BBC web style they illustrated the story with a picture of bananas, in case we weren't sure.

Quail from heaven - Exodus 16:13

Unfortunately quail didn't come and settle all over my garden, I had to go buy them from the market. It's what you get for being an atheist - no free quail.
They only cost 2 Euros each. We bought 4 females and one male, and put them in with the pigeons.

They are as happy as anything and gave us 2 eggs the very next day. They are practically tame. Unlike the pigeons, who defend their nests when I go to ring the chicks, the quail leave their eggs and don't mind being picked up.
The quail eggs are very pretty and make a lovely wee aperatif. They will stop laying in Autumn, and then they will get the chop. Poor things. We will have had eggs all Summer, and 5 very cheap quail to eat in winter. Next Spring we'll buy some more. It's a bargain.
(I case you didn't know, also in Exodus 16 - after the stuff about quail and manna falling from heaven we have one of the earliest examples of conversion of units. Apparantly an omer is one tenth of an ephah. So now you know)

God breaks his own commandments

God & Jesus together (for they are the same no?) manage to break 5 of the 10 commnadments.

I've got the goods on them for murder, sabbath breaking, dishonouring parents, stealng and lying.
They didn't covet stuff tho'
For more info on how nasty they are look at and examples of Jesus being a jerk at GodIsImaginary

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ginger Beer

Planet Atheism people: nothing to see here, please move along.
Summer is here, so its time for me to make ginger beer again. Every year I forget the recipe and have to look it up. Each year I look it up I get a different variation, but they're all mainly the same.
You make a ginger starter. This baby is where most of the flavour comes from. After a week of brewing you expand the starter with water and sugar to get about 2.5 litres (5 pints) of ginger beer. This gets bottled and does some more fermenting in the bottles. This gives it fiz.
The Starter.
In a jar put:
2 teaspoons brown sugar (or white if it's all you've got)
The juice of 2 lemons
some of the lemon pulp
some of the lemon zest
grated or finely sliced fresh ginger root. (Use a whole root, why not?)
2 teaspons ground ginger
1 teaspoon active dried yeast. (can be brewer's or baking, I don't give a monkey's)
Here were my ingredients this morning:

The Pineau and the saucisson are optional and are NOT to go in the jug. They go in your tummy.
Cover the jug with a cloth or kitchen roll. I used kitchen roll and an elastic band. We don't want those nasty little fruit fly things hovering around.

Put the jar in a dark place, but not cold. This baby wants warmth to do its magic.
Then, for the next seven days, add 2 teaspoons of sugar, and 2 teaspoons of ground ginger. Stir it up to dissolve the sugar and recover. The starter should be bubbling by mad within hours. Smell that ginger! mmmm.
The next steps, of diluting and bottling will be blogged here.

What depths of hoplessness & dispair

The parents of Madeleine McCann are making a pilgrimage to Portugal's most holy shrine today to pray for the "miracle" of her safe return.

Daily Telegraph 23 May 2007
There has been enough said on the net about responsability and culpability in this affair.
It must be every parents worst nightmare. Its the kind of story that makes you wake up your kids in the night just to give them a kiss.

Gerry and Kate McCann will travel to Fatima in the north of the country.
Gerry and Kate McCann are devout Catholics and have visited a church in Praia da Luz regularly
It is regarded as a site of miracles after a series of apparitions of the Virgin Mary were reported by three young shepherd children in 1917.

These poor, tortured, guilt-wracked parents are starting to hit the buffers. The police seem ta have followed up all leads and have so far found nothing concrete.
The psychic vultures have started wheeling as two UK psychic detectives have arrived in Portugal in a bid to help track down missing toddler Madeleine McCann.
Mr McCann said yesterday: "Both of us have taken a great deal of strength from our faith. We want to visit the shrine of Fatima to pray for Madeleine's return to us."
The four-hour trip, which comes 20 days after the disappearance of the four-year-old, is expected to mark the beginning of a series of "missions".

It seems to me that the mention of the length of the trip, and the future "missions" indicate that they are starting to do physical "penance" in a hope that their suffering and dedication will appease.
These poor people. They have come face to face with the ugly truth that there is terrible evil in the world, and they think that somehow there is a God in control and that this is all part of his mysterious plan.
They may one day come to realise the truth - this univers is steering itself and shit happens. Sometimes very bad shit happens.
I find it difficult to see how Christians can hold onto their faith, let alone take strength from it when faced with the problem of evil and suffering in the world.
Yet, because I hope, I hope, I hope, they find their daughter safe and well, I would be entirely happy for them to have every facet of their faith endorsed and strengthened if their daughter is restored.
For me there is no blame, I can't read this news story and think "supersticious fools". If I was in the same situation wouldn't I willingly go on my knees across a mile of broken glass to get to whatever shrine would reward me with my child's return?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Baby recipes, or "To Serve Man"

There's a short story by Damon Knight. Some aliens appear and give humanity tools for eradicating disease, ending war. The hero is working on a translation of a book the aliens have called "To Serve Man" The last lines of the story are "It's a cookbook"

Down here on planet Earth we have a story about a young couple who tried to microwave their baby.

Would you believe it, they are both christians and claim the devil made them do it.
Eva Marie Mauldin said Satan compelled her 19-year-old husband, Joshua Royce Mauldin, to microwave their daughter May 10 because the devil disapproved of Joshua's efforts to become a preacher.

Thanks to the ever vigilant PZ Myers at Pharyngula

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Frauds or Dupes?

There's a device called Sniffex. It's sold in the USA by Homeland Safety International and manufactured in Bulgaria by TASC Ltd. It claims to be able to detect nitrous oxide based explosives (gunpowder, Semtex etc) and munitions from a distance of 100 metres. It looks pretty slick too.

It consists of "telescoping antenae", and a casing in which 2 pairs of magnets either side of "container 19" which react with nitrous oxide radicals and "excites the radicals specific to the modulation of the magnetic field."
How does it work?
It detects the interference between the magnetic field of the earth, the explosive, the device itself, and the human body which allows the device to penetrate and locate even small amounts of explosives through concrete, soil, and metal barriers.

This would be great news, if Sniffex were anything other than plain old dowsing rods. It would be great if it worked.
When the owner of this blog received some promo mail about Sniffex he was dubious about its claims and started writing to the president of Homeland Safety suggesting that perhaps Sniffex had not been adequately tested and arranging to meet at the Seventh Annual California Safety and Security Conference in Annaheim, California.
He had the president and sales manager of Homeland Safety (previously called Sniffex Inc). He got them to try a double blind test.

The results are on these blogs, along with videos of the tests and subsequent corrspondence. For a perfect example of how easy it is to test products like these. For examples of the confusion and incomprehension of believers when faced with the truth. For examples of excuse making when the truth does not want to be faced, I urge you to read the blog and watch the videos. Especially these two.

The first is Sniffex being demo'd to the public in front of a known sample of munitions.

The second is Sniffex failing in front of blinded samples.
Are the president and sales manager frauds? Do they knowingly sell a worthless (no, dangerous) product? Or were they simply duped by the product and the ideomotor effect of dowsing. After the tests and the correspondence I think they went from dupes to become frauds.
Thanks to James Randi's weekly commentaries "Swift".

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Factory maintenance

At the end of last month, the tile factory closed for its annual maintenance. Because I've just been signed on full-time (After 2 years working there on contract) I didn't have any accumulated leave, so I had to come in during the closure and help with the maintenance.
I was assigned to The Greaser. He's an old boy who wears a surgical stocking on one leg and his job is to grease and oil the machines. He works day shifts, and you can see him pushing his cart which contains a 300 litre drum of oil, an empty 300 litre drum for recieving the spent oil, various cans and rags.
When a machine is not running, Michel (for that is his name) will stick his grease gun onto every available nipple and pump blue grease into all the bearings. He may also drain the oil out and refill.
My job during the maintenance was to change the oil on every gearbox in the factory. Anywhere where there is an electric motor, for driving conveyor belts, forks, lifters, whatever, there will be a gearbox next to it. I had to put a tray under the box, drain it down, suck the oil out of the tray into a big drum, and then pump in new oil until it flowed out of the "level" hole.
There were 80 gearboxes to do. many of them were underneath machinery and I had to crawl about on my hands and knees in the clay dust and crap and oil. It was a filthy filthy job.
Often the gearboxes were up high and I had to put on a safety harness and climb up by the rafters. Trying to undo stuck bolts at height is not fun.
Plus side, I got to see much of the factory taht is normally closed off behind safety barriers, and got to know the mechanics a bit better.
The kiln takes 4 days to cool down to the point where workers can enter it, and 2 days to reheat.
The bosses were pleased because they had over 100 external contractors in stripping the presses and replacing parts with no accidents. Given the potential for harm in an environment like that, its no mean feat.
Luckily, my shift cycle had me in the 4 days of rest when the factory restarted, so wasn't involved in the mess of adjustments to get everything working again.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sonnet 130

I come over all arty farty and have a go at one of Shakespeare's sonnets


Hurricane Jesus: 4

Annabel's reply to my refutation

We live in a fallen world (disaster, crime, suffering, etc) and right now Satan is the prince of this world. That is the reason why it cannot be restored what it was before the Fall of Man ( which came about because Adam had a free will to choose the right way or not) until Jesus comes back here on earth to claim His Lordship once again for a thousand years. At this time, God's plan is for people to be a part of His family here on earth by accepting His Son Jesus Chrsit as Lord and Savior. Read the Book of Job in the Bible and you will understand that God allows it for a purpose but it is Satan that carries it out. And to make it more clear to you, I would suggest that you read the whole chapter of Hebrews 11. Whether we live or die, if we are in faith to God through His Son Jesus Chrsit, we will always be winners. Since the salvation He offers is eternal. That is where we truly belong. This is where innocent babies truly belongs... not on this world that is fallen.

May you find His wisdom in your searching.


It was very kind of her to take the time, but I think she copped out.


Hurricane Jesus: 3

My reply to Annabel's list of reasons for suffering.
Annabel - thank-you for your reply.

With regards your list of possible reasons offered to account for suffering and evil in the world.
I propose an example of euffering and see if the reasons offered measure up. I'll stick with the hurricane analogy since that was were this all started.
A hurricane tears through a coastal village. A palm tree crashes through the roof of a fisherman's house and smashes into the cot where his youngest daughter, aged 6 months, is sleeping. The tree crushes the infant, but the poor child does not die immidiatly. With broken ribs and punctured lungs the infant takes half an hour of terrified agonised suffering, alone and cold before she dies.
Now, hold that image in your mind as we go through the 11 points you propose.
1. Free will. Nope, free will does not explain why the innocent child died so painfully. Nor should this child suffer so because of Adam's sin
2. God is powerless. Well it might seem that way, mighten't it. interestingly the only argument you offer aginst God's seeming powerlessness is that "does not != cannot" Because the other things you offer here are:
discipline people (Prov. 3: 11)
teach them (Prov. 15: 32).
Evidently, in the example of the baby killed in the hirricane, there is nothing to teach and no reason to punish.You offer at the end of the paragraph "It means that He simply has chosen not to do so." We come around to "mysterious ways"
3. How much evil should be stopped? I'd be satisfied with the stopping of the kinds of death and suffering we are discussing here, innocent lives through natural disaster. Lets get God to simply start there. No need to split hairs over murderers, theives, or thought crime. Lets just start with the inoocent babies OK?
4. Prevention of further evil. You admit yourself that this is a bit circular. In this paragraph you also invoke "mysterious ways"
5. For the greater plan. Since we cannot know the graeter plan, or understand how the death of a baby in a storm works towards that plan, I guess we are left with "mysterious ways" again.
6. For discipline and instruction. You touched on this already with point 2. We have already seen that a six month old child has no need for God's instruction or discipline through the media of agonising death.
7. It is the result of sin. Again, I find it morally questionable to hold an infant responsable for its parent's sins, or its ancestors' sins.
8. To serve as a warning. Ah! At last, a valid point. To serve as a warning: evidently in our example God would not be trying to warn the baby? So it would be to serve as a warning to her parents? Or perhaps to the rest of the world. So God will cause anguish and suffering and death of an infant to warn me of something? Can you see how I might view that proposition? Can you see that I might think God a little callous? A little heavy handed perhaps? He has to hurt babies to make us notice?
9. To make a point. This is a bit close to item 8, No? But in point 9, you again discuss Free Will, which we have already seen is not relevant in our example, and you suggest that often God let's us have what we deserve. If you are pressing towards the idea that it is our fault that the infant died, why did the baby have to suffer? Why torture the baby?
10. To serve as a means to bring the Son. As I read through this paragraph I couldn't believe the twisted logic: In order for us to be saved by Jesus, Jesus had to die. Without sin and suffering Jesus would not have been able to die. BUT DON'T YOU SEE? Without sin and suffering he wouldn't have had to die in the first place!
11. We don't know. And here we have it. All we end up with at the end is God's mysterious ways.

You can see Annabel, that in this 1 example, a baby dying a painful lonely death during a hurricane, there is no logical, undertandable means of understanding why the God you describe as being so full of love would let such things happen. I am made in his image, and yet none of my god-like emotions or god-given intellect can rationalise these things. God lets the innocent suffer. Regards



Hurricane Jesus: 2

Annabel from Campus Crusade for Christ. Her response to my mail on the problem of evil
Dear Carla,

Hi, my name is Anabelle and I wanted to thank you for visiting our web site.

I appreciate your desire to investigate the claims of Christ. This is definitely not a decision to be taken lightly, and if there is anything I can help you with on your spiritual journey, please let me know.

My hope and prayer for you is that you will experience God’s peace and plan for your life.

In your spiritual search for significance, consider asking God this prayer…”God, I don’t fully understand Your character or how to relate to You. Will You please reveal Yourself to me, so I can discover and experience who You are and the eternal security You alone offer?”

Christianity, unlike all other religions, is developing a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. In order to have a relationship with God, you need to understand four principles that govern your relationship with God. Go to to see these principles, in almost any language you want.

Here are a couple of web sites that do an excellent job of describing Christianity and the claims of Christ...
- is a series of excellent multi-media presentations from notable sources exploring the life and claims of Jesus.
- is translated in multiple languages and explains the life of Jesus, the miracles he performed, what others said about Him, how He has influenced the world and what all this means to you.
- Another great resource for you in finding answers to many puzzling spiritual questions is found at

Please let me know how I can help you in your search for the truth.



P.S. as for your question, here's my answer:

If God is all powerful and loving, why is there suffering in the world?

It is often asked why is there suffering in the world if God is all powerful and loving. Why doesn't He stop it? Can He or is He weaker than we think? Suffering can fall into three simple categories: emotional, mental, and physical suffering. But, there are a variety of causes for suffering: morally corrupt (evil) people, disease, earthquakes, floods, famine, etc.
There are different explanations for why God allows suffering, but none of them can satisfy everyone. Therefore, I will simply list various reasons offered to account for suffering and evil in the world.

1. Free will
1. God has given us freedom of choice. Having this freedom means that we can rebel against God and make choices that are contrary to His desires. Since we can say that evil is anything contrary to God's perfect and holy will, then anyone who chooses anything contrary to God's perfection is committing evil. But this is the risk of being able to have freedom of choice. Evil and suffering are the result of making bad free choices.
2. But how could this account for natural disasters and sickness that brings suffering? Biblically, Adam represented not only all of his descendents, but he was also the head of the created order since he was given dominion over the earth. Therefore, when he fell, sin entered into the world (Rom. 5:12) and with it the effects of being fallen spread to the earth as well as to humanity.
2. God cannot stop evil and suffering because He is powerless
1. Of course, this does not stand up to biblical truth. God allows evil to occur partly for reasons we do know and partly for those we do not. We know that God uses evil to discipline people (Prov. 3:11) and to teach them (Prov. 15:32). But we cannot know all the reasons that God has for allowing evil and suffering in the world. It is not logically necessary that since God has not stopped evil and suffering in the world, that He cannot. God could be using suffering for His divine plan, in order to teach, for discipline, because people are free, etc. The existence of suffering does not at all mean that God cannot stop all of it. It means that He simply has chosen not to do so.
3. How much evil should be stopped?
1. The question of stopping evil means that if God is to stop evil, then He must stop all evil. This means that the murderer must be stopped along with the thief. But it also means that thinking evil, which is in rebellion against God, must also be stopped as well; that is, if all evil is to be stopped. Therefore, for God to stop evil and suffering may very well mean that He must remove the ability for people to freely choose what they want to do. So, if God is going to stop evil, is He required to stop all of it or just some of it? If only some of it, then the question would still stand. If He stops all of it, would we be free?
4. Prevention of further evil
1. It is possible that human suffering (cancer, disease, etc.) can be a means that God uses to remove the person from further suffering, worse suffering, or future suffering. Of course, this not seem to be a very good option because if God or intending to stop further suffering, why would He use suffering to stop it? Also, what about floods and earthquakes that cause suffering? How would they fit into God decreasing or stopping suffering except perhaps by people's deaths which ends suffering? This is difficult to answer. Though it may be that God might use some suffering to prevent even greater suffering, this explanation cannot answer all issues concerning it.
5. For the greater plan
1. Undoubtedly, God has a plan. Since God knows all things He is not surprised by the presence of evil and sin in the world that brings about suffering. But if God knows all things from all eternity, then He is perfectly capable of using suffering in the world in His greater plan. The best and simplest example of this is the suffering of Christ at the hands of evil men. It is by Christ's suffering and death on across that we are able to be redeemed. It was God's plan from all eternity that Christ die for our sins yet Christ was crucified by evil people (Acts 4:27-28). This means that God had incorporated into His divine plan the reality of evil and suffering in order to accomplish His will. Of course, this does not mean that God is the author of evil, but it does mean that God is above it all and can use it to accomplish a greater good. If this is true on a large-scale, why cannot it also be true on a smaller one in each of our individual lives?
6. For discipline and instruction
1. The Bible tells us that God disciplines those whom He loves (Heb. 12:6) and that no true child of God is without discipline and instruction. It is obvious that the results of our rebellion against God brings suffering and it is also true that we can learn through our suffering that such rebellion is bad. We then could glorify God during and after our suffering by proclaiming the truth of His word that urges us to follow God and His ways.
Sometimes we learn our greatest lessons after having suffered the consequences of our actions -- and this is good. If we see that there are consequences through the acts of suffering in this world, it is logical to conclude that there will be suffering in the next as a consequence of our rebellion now. This could easily lead us to conclude that we need to be delivered from our rebellion against God. Of course, Jesus is the answer to this.
7. It is the result of sin
1. Biblically speaking, pain and suffering are the results of sin in the world. Adam, who represented all humanity as well as creation, rebelled against God and brought suffering into the world (Rom. 5:12). Sin is more than simple rebellion and breaking of God's law. It is permeating throughout all of God's creation bringing imbalance, famine, earthquakes, disease, etc. This does not mean that God created evil. Instead, it is God who is allowing evil and suffering to continue for His divine plan.
8. To serve as a warning
1. Evil and suffering in the world can serve as a warning against breaking God's law and then people can see the necessity of following God's truth. God's ways are right and good and following them leads to security and safety. The consequences of disobeying God's word are manifested in suffering. Therefore, suffering in the world easily serves as a demonstration of the need to follow God's words thereby vindicating what God has said
9. To make a point
1. It is possible that God is simply allowing evil and suffering in the world to prove that rebellion against Him brings pain and suffering. God may be allowing sin to take its natural course in the world so that on the day of judgment God can say "Do you see what rebellion against my words brings?" This may seem overly simplistic but it may prove to be one of the reasons that God allows pain and suffering. After all, did He not make us in His image and give us the freedom to choose? And in our freedom have we not rebelled? Yes, we have. Should God then make us robots or restrict our freedom so much that we have no choices at all? Of course not. But since we are limited in our knowledge and have used our freedom to rebel, God allows us to have what we desire and in the end, our sins will prove that God's way is the right way.
10. To serve as a means to bring the Son
1. The death of the Son is the means by which God has redeemed those who would receive Jesus. This death cannot occur if Jesus were not a man. In order to be a man he had to be born as one. But since Jesus was sinless, death has no power over Him. Therefore, in order to die and in order to redeem us, His death must be at the hands of evil people. But, without sin, suffering, and evil in the world, Jesus could not have been sent to the cross. So, it could be said that suffering in the world is necessary in order to bring about the cross which in turn demonstrates the great and awesome love of God. Jesus said that the greatest act of love is to lay one's life down for another (John 15:13). If God is love (1 John 4:8) and love gives (John 3:16), can it be that God must demonstrate the greatest act of love? If so, it can only be done through suffering in the world.
11. We don't know.
1. Biblically speaking, pain and suffering are the results of sin in the world. Adam, who represented all humanity as well as creation, rebelled against God and brought suffering into the world. This sin is more than simple rebellion and breaking of God's law. It is an offense against a holy God. Sin is permeating throughout all of God's creation bringing imbalance, famine, earthquakes, disease, etc. This is not have God created things but it is God who is allowing them to continue for his divine plan. Ultimately, we can't know all the reasons why God allows suffering, we just know that He does.

What does the Bible tell us that God has done about evil? It tells us that he sent to His Son Jesus to die for our sins and to deliver us from pain and suffering. Ultimately, God is allowing evil in the world for a purpose, otherwise, he would not let it exist. Therefore, we must trust Him that He knows what He is doing.

My reply in the next post.


Hurricane Jesus: 1

I was reading the Times online, and down at the bottom was a google ad that caught my eye. "God loves you even in a hurricane" it said. (Or something like that, I can't remember the details)
So I clicked on the ad and it took me here. When Hurricanes Strike. At least I know this one isn't a parody site :-) It's hosted by Campus Crusade for Christ.
It uses hurricanes as ametephor for stormy lives and suggests that I need Jesus to get me through the storm. It then walks through the "4 laws" and ends up with the sinner's prayer.
At the bottom of the page is a "Did you pray this prayer?" feedback button, and another titled "I still have questions". This is where I went. Having chosen the option "I am not a christian and I still have questions" I fired off the following response:
Why did god send the hurricane in the first place. Why would he kill people, and babies and animals? The hurricane wasn't caused by anyone's sin. Why would a loving god make us suffer? Why would a loving god hurt and kill babies?

The next day I received an automated acknowledgement:
This is to confirm that we have received your request for personal assistance. Please do not reply to this e-mail.
You should receive a personal response by e-mail within the next several business days.
Response Centers staff

I didn't expect much but yesterday I had a response from Annabel. It's a bit long and it's addressed to "Carla" who is the pseudo I use when I want to guard my real email address. To stop this post becomming hugely long I'll post the correspondence in consecutive posts.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Night on the Tiles - etymology

What is the origin of the phrase "A Night on the Tiles"?
A web search came up with an Australian who myopically thought the phrase came from down under and referred to the notion that when you are very pissed you end up on the tiled floor of the bathroom after having called Huey on the porcelain telephone. A nice idea, but wrong.
We all know how to use the phrase. It refers to a wild party, a night out of unusual debauch. Tying one on.
Another web pundit suggested that the phrase comes from London at the 1900s and refers to a night spent dancing on tiled dancefloors.
I don't buy it.
There is a book called "British English A to Zed" by Norman W. Schur. In it he suggests that "A Night on the Tiles" is from the amourous roof-top night-time activities of cats.
That's the one for me.

Now a gratuitous atheist post:

"Act now and you get Sundays FREE!"
Hat tip to Darwin's Dagger

Mr Skinny catches up.

Day 1 of the 6 day shift cycle
Shift 4:00am till midday
Press DTP
Tiles Made: Rives Chartreuse Droit BV - 3200
Tiles Unstacked: Douille GR13, Faitiere demi-ronde, Rives Chartreuse Droit Rge

3200 is not bad considering how many changes of product and colour we had to unstack. Each change involves rinsing out the ongobeuses, changing the colours around, re-starting and regulating the ongobeuses, adjusting the grappins. Plus the transbordeur was "en panne" for nearly an hour. Oh, and with the tiles we were making the top and bottom moulds have to be changed every 2 hours.

Wow, it's been a while since I blogged. Ironically because there has beens so much going on: Sarko gets elected, factory maintenance, parties, Ball-Trap, broken shotgun, cabbage soup diet.

Yes, the dreaded cabbage soup diet. It's the ultimate fad diet. I can't track its pedigree or history. It's alternately known as the "Mayo Clinic" diet or "Sacred Heart" diet, but neither mayo or any Sacred heart hospital will claim ownership of it. There seems to be no solid nutritional science behind it either.

But the bastard works! I kicked off round 1 of the diet Weds 2nd may weighing 87.2kg - 192.2lb. 7 days later, at the end of the diet I was 83.1kg - 183.2lb. That's 9lbs down in a week. I started round 2 a week later on 82.5kg - 181.8lb and here at day 4 I'm already 2.5lb down. I'm going to keep doing 1 week on, 1 week off until I hit my target of 165lb. I haven't been that thin for a decade.

It's very unscientific. All there is to back it up is a pile of anecdotal evidence. Have a look at the forum on the Cabbage Soup Dite page. It's full of stories of 6-10lbs lost in a week.