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Everything posted by Jamie123

  1. Jamie123

    The Shack

    “What is above and beyond all things is so masculine that we are all feminine in relation to it." (C.S. Lewis That Hideous Strength)
  2. An idea has just struck me. They say one of the central ideas of evolution is "common ancestry" - that modern humans do not only share ancestors with modern apes, but also dogs, cats, horses, snails, oak trees, cacti, mushrooms, slime molds and bacteria. Which means that just one event - one random alignment of atoms billions of years ago - led to the diversity of life we now see. Now what has just occurred to me is that this only ever happened once in all the billions of years the Earth has existed, how unlikely must that event have been? It puts the sheer specialness of life into perspective. Perhaps with all the billions of stars in the universe, and the trillions of planets orbiting around them, it was bound to happen once - but it happened to happen here on our planet. What are the odds? (Well actually the odds are 100%, because if it hadn't happened, we wouldn't be here to ask the question. I believe they call that the "weak anthropic principle".) Or perhaps it happened more than once. Perhaps the evolutionists are wrong, and that different types of life did spring from multiple "proto-life" events during the Earth's early history. Or perhaps all current life did come from the same proto-life, but there were for a while rival "lives" to ours which eventually died out - our's was the one which (by natural selection) survived. Or maybe Fred Hoyle was right about "panspermia" - that the elements of life have been drifting around the universe since forever (Hoyle didn't believe in a beginning) and dropping "like gentle rain from heaven" upon any planets they happen to meet. Or maybe the event wasn't random. Maybe a proto-life is so unlikely that it could never reasonably occur at random however many planets there are, but that God travels around causing it to happen on planets here and there. Or maybe God only did it once, and it spread across the universe under its own steam, Hoyle-style. Something to think about during lockdown... P.S. I can do a good Fred Hoyle impression: "T' Big Bang theeuury is a looada o' ooold crap!" (Well actually I can never decide if its Fred Hoyle, or Michael Palin pretending to be a Yorkshireman.) I've been reading The Secret Garden to my wife for a bedtime story for an excuse to use my "Yorkshireman" voice for all the Yorkshire characters - especially Ben Weatherstaff. P.P.S. My wife says I don't sound Yorkshire at all, but just like I'm "talking stupid". Oh well... P.P.P.S. I knew there was a word for what I called "proto-life event": Abiogenesis.
  3. Jamie123

    Common Ancestry and Evolution

    Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) was a famous theoretical astronomer, sci-fi writer, and Yorkshireman. He is well known for the theory of nucleosynthesis and was a great believer in the "steady state" theory (that the universe always existed and is in a constant equilibrium state or expansion, new matter being constantly created out of nothing), panspermia (that life on Earth and other planets originated from outer space), and for coining the term "the Big Bang" - which he did to ridicule people like Stephen Hawking who were pushing the idea in opposition to Hoyle's own theories. He once had a very famous spat with Hawking at the Royal Society: after Hoyle had presented his latest theory, Hawking - then a young and exceptionally geeky grad student (his illness had not then deprived him of his voice), lurking at the back of the lecture room - pointed out that one of the summations Hoyle needed to converge actually didn't. Hoyle demanded to know how Hawking knew this, and Hawking replied that he had "worked it out". It transpired that Hawking had been looking at papers which Hoyle's own students had left lying around the office, worked out the calculations himself, and chose the most impolitic way possible to communicate what he discovered. It was quickly pointed out to Hawking that however right he was, humiliating Britain's greatest physicist in front of the assembled fellows of the Royal Society was unlikely to do him much good in the long run. I think we can well imagine what Hoyle was like on that occasion: he was the sort of Yorkshireman who would have given Ben Weatherstaff a run for his money. In fact, they say that his "Yorkshire manners" (what anyone outside Yorkshire would have called "rudeness") were what cost him the Nobel Prize. Sir Michael Palin (1943-) is a British Comedian and a central member of the Monty Python team. I've always loved his "Yorkshire" impersonations. Here's one example... “Eh, tha’ mun talk a bit o’ Yorkshire t' 'em then lad! Tha’ll make 'em laugh an’ there’s nowt so good for folk as laughin’ is!"
  4. Jamie123

    The Shack

    I actually quite enjoyed reading The Shack, but you're quite right: writing God as a character in a fictional story is always going to be a problem, particularly if you want your story to have relevance to the real world. You can make your fictional "God" the God of your limited fictional universe, but the reader will rightly say "What's this to me?" Young may be an "inexperienced writer", but Shakespeare, Dickens or Austen would have run into the same problem. As for God the Father being a middle-aged black woman, I don't much care. For all I know, perhaps She is! This was my biggest problem with the book. I wouldn't have expected "condemnation" from Papa. (At least not in the form of thunder and lightning bolts, and time spent in the company little guys with toasting forks.) But I would have expected the recognition of a need for repentance from Mac himself - that he not only needs to forgive, but to ask for forgiveness. The matter, though, is never really addressed.
  5. I bet a lot of people misread it as "decide".
  6. Jamie123

    It matters who you are...

    The big news in the UK right now (apart from the small matter of the Prime Minister resigning) is that the man long referred to as "Nick" - real name Carl Beech - who brought allegations of child rape and torture against a whole raft of senior politicians and military commanders, which were described as "credible and true" by police even before they had investigated the matter, and received £22,000 "compo" has finally been convicted of making the whole thing up. The papers are full of stories of "raided homes" and "ruined lives" etc. Now don't get me wrong: I'm glad the little toerag has been brought to justice, and I hope those who took his stories at face value will be a lot more careful in future about what they choose to believe "credible and true". But I wonder if any of this would have happened if his victims had been ordinary people - not top generals, ex cabinet ministers - none of whom (I believe) were even charged, let alone convicted or imprisoned. Ex fire-chief David Bryant spent three years in prison on uncorroborated child rape accusations by a certain Danny Day, who was later shown to be a compulsive liar. (He even tried to boost his "compo" claims by saying he was forced to quit the Olympic boxing team due to PTSD - a lie which was quickly exposed by private investigators. And yes it is OK to name him: he waived his right to anonymity back when people were calling him a "very brave man", but has most likely changed his name now the truth is out.) Is Day going to be prosecuted? Well - no. Why not? Well you won't get an answer out of the police, but I think it has something to do with Bryant never having been Prime Minister, or Head of the Army, or a member of the cabinet. If you're any of those things you can expect to see your persecutor punished even if you were never even arrested, let alone charged, tried or imprisoned for three years.
  7. Jamie123

    It matters who you are...

    Narratives can easily become more real to you than what you actually know...
  8. Jamie123

    It matters who you are...

    You misunderstand me. It's lack of courage that's the mistake. The mistake is to take the easy way out - to convince yourself that black is white, and then kid yourself that you're showing courage by joining the braying mob. As (I'm ashamed to admit) I have often done. I know you LDS are rather fond of a hymn by a certain Scotsman... If only it were easier to "stem" a "tide of lying tongues". But if more of us tried instead of adding our own tongues to the lying ones (for fear of meeting a "traitor's doom" of our own), the world would be a better place.
  9. Jamie123

    It matters who you are...

    On the matter of UK vs. US justice, it's worth noting the case of William McCaffrey: he was convicted of the rape and torture of Biurney Gonzales in New York in 2006 and sentenced to 20 years. The jury chose to put 100% trust in the word of an innocent-looking girl from the Dominican Republic, despite there being no other evidence, and the fact that the rape kit administered by the police had returned negative! Just like in the Day/Bryant case there was a grassroots campaign to prove McCaffrey's innocence. They turned up evidence that the bite marks on Gonzales were not only not those of McCaffrey, but they had not even come from a man (the DNA was female). The authorities were going through the usual bluster of denial when in 2009 - quite out of the blue - Gonzales (now married with kids) admitted that she had made the whole thing up. She confessed it first to her priest, but he (quite properly) refused her absolution until she had told the authorities. Even then the police tried to hold things together, claiming Gonzales' confession had been somehow "coerced", but the conviction really was beyond saving. McCaffrey was freed, and Gonzales got 3 years. (Only her marriage saved her from being deported from the US on release.) McCaffrey of course shouldn't have been convicted at all, any more than Bryant should, but there's no denying the US were a lot quicker than the UK to punish the real villain once she was identified. I must say though, I can't help admiring Biurney Gonzales. However belatedly she did do the right thing, despite enormous cost to herself and her family.
  10. Jamie123

    It matters who you are...

    It's an overstatement, but there's an element of truth to it. And it applies to societies in general, not just the Brits. Everyone wants to belong to the battalion of white knights, fighting the dragons and ogres on the other side. And when deciding who's the white knight and who's the dragon, its much less trouble to go with the crowd - otherwise they might decide YOU'RE one of the dragons! I've made that mistake myself many a time.
  11. Jamie123

    It matters who you are...

    It's important to remember what was going on in the UK at the time of the original case. In October 2011 Jimmy Savile died, and some people began to allege that he had abused them as children. At first they were brushed off, but there were eventually so many such reports that the authorities had to sit up and take notice. It transpired that there had been many complaints about Savile during his lifetime which had been hushed up. BIG EMBARRASSMENT!! There was soon a nationwide inquiry into the matter ("Operation Yewtree"), and senior police were appealing for victims of Savile (or anyone else) to come forward. They said they were sorry that victims had not been taken seriously, but NOW they WOULD BE BELIEVED! What more fertile ground for the likes of Carl Beech and Danny Day to plant their poisonous seeds? The nation was so disgusted with the Savile affair that anyone accused of anything similar wouldn't stand a chance. Police and prosecutors were too terrified not to bring charges. And it was the same with people in general: you should have seen the comments on the Bournmouth Echo website (mostly now deleted) reporting Bryant's conviction: a few brave posts daring to suggest that there was "no real proof" were heavily down-voted, shouted down with "If you think that, you must be a pedophile yourself!" (all heavily up-voted). I can only imagine the abuse the one dissenting juror in the Bryant/Day case must have received from the other eleven. In short, this all started with a genuine concern which needed to be addressed, but was not addressed in a sensible or proportionate manner. But if you think this is a peculiarly British problem which would "never happen in the "good ol' US of A", think back to the Red Scare of the 1950s. The threat of communism was real, for sure, but did it really warrant all the excesses of McCarthyism?
  12. Jamie123

    It matters who you are...

    Yep it is a pay site - and unfortunately The Telegraph seems to be the only mainstream media outlet covering this story at the moment. I found the same story here: https://www.thejusticegap.com/chronic-liar-charged-with-perverting-the-course-of-justice-over-false-allegations/ except of course this is not a "mainstream" site, and we know how biased they can be compared to respectable broadsheets like The Telegraph, eh Anatess? 😉
  13. Jamie123

    It matters who you are...

    I'm not 100% certain you're right. Carl Beech was tried by a crown court before a jury, for essentially the same thing David Day is now accused of. The difference (maybe) is that he was also charged with fraud, which may have upped the status of the case. (Day certainly should be charged with fraud too - he bogusly applied for and given criminal compensation, and attempted to get more money by suing the local council on the grounds that he was a thwarted Olympic boxer - something we now know was untrue. This is one more reason I think Beech's accusees are getting preferential treatment - its a much more serious crime to wrongly accuse a former prime minister than it is to stitch up a retired firefighter, and sell him down the river for a bit of dirty cash!) P.S. I don't think court delays have anything to do with it anyway. The case has only just reached the course system, and any "wait for a court date" begins now. The delay so far has been down to the police and the cps dragging their heels over whether or not to switch sides. P.P.S. Do "less serious cases" really have to wait longer for trial? If so, then if Bill kills his mother and Ben steals a packet of Polos, Ben has to wait longer than Bill to be tried?
  14. Jamie123

    It matters who you are...

    Looks like I was wrong: it's been a long time coming, but Danny Day has now finally been charged with perverting the course of justice: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/13/rape-accuser-trial-allegations-put-innocent-fire-chief-prison/. It makes me wonder: its been four years since Bryant's conviction was declared "unsafe", and two years since the High Court ruled that Day did make up the allegation. And only now is something being done about it. Compare that with the original case: Day brought the complaint in 2012, and by January 2014 they already had Bryant "strung up like a kipper", convicted, behind bars, and placed for life on the "sex offenders register". It's speedy justice for former top politicians and retired senior army officers. Slow as cold molasses flowing uphill for anyone else.
  15. Jamie123

    The Excuse of all Tyrants

    A policeman's lot is not a happy one (happy one)
  16. Jamie123


    I didn't make this cartoon by the way. I don't believe anyone uses the word "importunity" any more - I think "being a nagging pest" would be the way most people would express the concept.
  17. I hope you guys are all well and coping with "all this"! Does anyone remember these issues from long ago? They all seem to belong to a bygone age: Brexit Trump (impeachment of) Prince Andrew (potential naughtiness of) Epstein Anne Sacoolas Harvey Weinstein Harry and Meghan Covid19 seems to have been going on forever now, with no end in sight. Even Johnson has gone down with it. You should hear the suggestions people have been making on TV, like having a "cabinet" of ex-Prime Ministers to run the country until Boris better. Can you imagine John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May all in a room together trying to agree "what to do now"? I think the Queen should call a virtual meeting of all the actual cabinet, and based on their advice appoint one of them as a temporary Prime Minister with full powers. She's the only person with the authority to do this, and if she doesn't use it in a circumstance like this, what's the good of her? Well OK - I guess she makes good speeches like she did on Sunday, but... Eddlie Large died of coronavirus. This morning they told us Honor Blackman has died. (They didn't say whether it was coronavirus - but she was 94.) I liked Honor Blackman. I found her incredibly sexy, even as an old woman. She was Steed's first companion in The Avengers (the proper Avengers - not the Marvel thing) and the goddess Hera in Jason and the Argonauts. And she was Pussy Galore in Goldfinger - playing opposite Sean Connery (the best Bond ever in my opinion - though my wife likes Brosnan better but she's wrong - no one beats Connery.) Is anyone else sick of having work meetings in Zoom? My webcam makes me look green, and I'm getting a bit sick of being told I look like the Hulk. (I prefer to think I look like that guy in the Wilfred Owen poem - the one who gets gassed: "As through a green sea I saw him drowning" - best line in the whole poem I reckon.) Anyway, God Bless...
  18. Jamie123

    No, with a knife!

    I just went downstairs to tell that to my wife and daughter. Neither of them thought it was funny. My wife said "that's so disrespectful!" Oh well... P.S. I knew it reminded me of something - this episode of BBT: Except of course I had no Kwipke to back me up!
  19. Jamie123

    Nostalgia (and other stir-crazy ramblings)

    Yer man Trump wouldn't agree! Mine is a lovely yellow and it has special bits that go over my ears to keep it on. I'm doing the family shopping in an hour. I have face mask, gloves, hand sanitizer and ready to kick some COVID 19 butt! Wish me luck!
  20. The best part is being woken up out of a sound sleep at 2 a.m. to catch spiders, and when you're balancing precariously on a wobbly swivel chair, trying to reach the ceiling with an empty Pringles can (in which to receive Mr. Incey-Wincey Spider) your assembled family demand to know why you don't just kill it. Well...as James Henry Trotter once said: ‘I must NEVER kill a spider I must only help and guide her And invite her in the nursery to play.’ On a related topic...
  21. Jamie123

    Nostalgia (and other stir-crazy ramblings)

    First things first - here's a picture of Honor Blackman playing Goddess Hera... ...and here she is as Pussy Galore... ...with Sean Connery also in the picture. Two total legends! Anyway, now I have that off my chest, we have one child at home too (a daughter). Until last week she had to do school work online, but this week it's the Easter vacation so right now she's cooking supper (butternut soup). Luckily we all have our own laptops so no arguments - thoug last week mine broke and I had to make a trip into work to borrow one. (Hence the "green" webcam - perhaps a student was sick on it once - who knows?) It's like a ghost town there too - only security and IT techs on campus, and not very many of them. My wife has knitted me a face mask, so no coronavirus for me when I go shopping tomorrow!
  22. Jamie123


    All well and good, but: Who's on first.
  23. Jamie123

    Lame Jokes, the Sequel

    What's the definition of "baroque"? When you have no Monet.