Monday, June 29, 2009

o fffffffffalafel

David Mitchell has been writing about swearing for the Observer newspaper. He believes saying "fuck" is no big deal. I happen to find it very difficult to swear, and am a right little prude about it. It sounds ugly to me, and this is because I was brought up to believe this. Not by my mother, who swore freely throughout my childhood. In fact, I don't really know why I have such a problem with the word. Like most everything else, it is probably a class issue. Meanwhile, Mitchell writes:

" "Is 'fuck' a rude word?" Everyone accepts it's a rude word - it would hardly be used if it weren't. The disagreement is about whether using it (and other swearing, but "fuck" is the Gaza Strip here) is an offensive act.

I don't think it is. I don't think it matters a shit, damn or piss if someone says "fuck" or how many times they say it. My friends and colleagues unthinkingly use it all the time and, as far as I can tell, it hasn't resulted in the poisoning of their souls or their becoming unable to express themselves because of the effect of linguistic inflation.

That's the argument often deployed against swearwords: "If you overuse them, they'll lose their effect." Well, so what, if you hate them so much? Or is the prospect of a rude word losing its offensive power too unsettling for the offendees, as it would reveal that it was only ever a word and the power was an illusion of their own making? It would emasculate their attempts to censor with their censure."

read the rest here.

It is only a word, of course. I knew a 5-year-old whose brother had taught him that the worst word in the world was 'mushroom' so when he was really angry he would say 'youuuuuuuuuu MUSHROOM!' with deathly fury. Personally, I prefer to say 'o FFFFFFFFFALAFEL!"

Friday, June 26, 2009

What about Roger Williams?

Having been interviewed last year by the third and fourth grade students in my alter ego of Roger Williams, I was disturbed to hear of the controversy surrounding the full and proper name of the state of Rhode Island, known to most of us as "Rhode Island". Ray Henry reports for the Associated Press:

" The country's smallest state has the longest official name: "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." A push to drop "Providence Plantations" from that name advanced farther than ever on Thursday when House lawmakers voted 70-3 to let residents decide whether their home should simply be called the "State of Rhode Island." It's an encouraging sign for those who believe the formal name conjures up images of slavery, while opponents argue it's an unnecessary rewriting of history that ignores Rhode Island's tradition of religious liberty and tolerance.

The bill permitting a statewide referendum on the issue next year now heads to the state Senate. "It's high time for us to recognize that slavery happened on plantations in Rhode Island and decide that we don't want that chapter of our history to be a proud part of our name," said Rep. Joseph Almeida, an African-American lawmaker who sponsored the bill.

Rhode Island's unwieldy name reflects its turbulent colonial history, a state that consisted of multiple and sometimes rival settlements populated by dissidents. Banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his unorthodox religious views, minister Roger Williams set out in 1636 and settled at the northern tip of Narragansett Bay, which he called Providence Plantations. Williams founded the first Baptist church in America and became famous for embracing the separation of church and state, a legal principle enshrined in the Bill of Rights a century later ... Opponents of the name charge argue that "plantations" was used at the time to describe any farming settlements, regardless of slavery.

Stanley Lemons, a professor emeritus of history at Rhode Island College, said changing the state's name ignores the accomplishments of Williams, whose government passed laws trying to prevent the permanent servitude of whites, blacks and American Indians. "There are different meanings for this word," Lemons said. "To try to impose their experience on everyone else wipes out Roger Williams.""

Michael Jackson?

Bored now.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson RIP

This is the Michael that everyone loved. Reuters is reporting that the 50-year-old singer is dead from a heart attack. He was such a troubled man, and it's hard to get that image of him dangling his baby from a window out of my head. But 50 - that's my generation just about. Have to admit I am a bit shocked about this. Now we must watch the vultures land.

Triumph and Disaster

Love this photo - wish I'd taken it. England win. New Zealand lose. End of.

farrah fawcett r.i.p.

Charlie's Angels - one of the great guilty pleasures. Sabrina - the dykes' Angel. Farrah was still a big part of it though, and it is sad to hear of her demise.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I need cheering up today because it is Father's Day and I miss mine. Here are some stupid airport names:

1. Batman Airport (BAL) Turkey

2. Useless Loop Airport (USL), Australia

3. Black Tickle Airport (YBI), Canada

4. Beaver Creek Airport (YXP), Canada

5. Moron Airport (OZP), Spain

6. Ogle Airport (OGL), Guyana

8. Eek Airport (EEK), USA

9. Pickle Lake Airport (YPJ), Canada

10. Deadhorse Airport (SCC), USA

Others here.

Friday, June 19, 2009


If there was one person in the world that I was pretty sure would never be seduced by the world of fitness, it was my hero Stephen Fry. Long has he mocked the svelte and the running. Now, the Daily M announces that not only is he a convert to the religion of exercise, but he has lost 6 stone in 6 months (a stone = 14 lbs). How could he do this to us? Look at this picture of the new Stephen:

He looks gorgeous! grumble grumble congrats grumble whine grumble

Hillary Clinton stole my bruise!

The ravaj had quite a heavy fall last Saturday, landing mostly on her left arm. While the bruised dignity was instant, the actual purpliciousness of her elbow that would indicate the reality of her pain has not yet come through. Now she realises why. The NY Times reports:

"WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will have to undergo surgery to repair a fractured right elbow, caused when she slipped and fell on her way to a White House meeting on Wednesday evening, the State Department said Thursday. Mrs. Clinton, 61, was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where doctors determined the break would require an operation, said a State Department spokesman, P. J. Crowley. “She is at home, resting comfortably, or uncomfortably,” he said.

The mishap occurred as Mrs. Clinton was walking to her car in the basement of the State Department. She was headed to a meeting with President Obama, accompanied by the administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard C. Holbrooke. After Mrs. Clinton fell, Mr. Holbrooke said, “She struggled to get up to go to the meeting, but the pain was very intense.” Still lying on the ground, she instructed Mr. Holbrooke to go without her and reminded him to brief the president about a visit to Afghanistan planned by the State Department’s new ambassador for women’s issues, Melanne Verveer.

“She said, ‘Go to the meeting, that’s an order,’ ” Mr. Holbrooke said."

She stole my bruise! Despite this crime, I still wish her a speedy recovery.

Premiere Nigella

Bruno may not look interested, but I am. Nigella has a penchant for dresses where the straps fall gently onto her upper arms.

You Can't Shut a Bad Man Up

Just received notice that Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in NYC is going to be picketed by Fred Phelps and his gang this Sunday. The CBST website says the following:

"June 18th, 2009

CBST has received warning that members of the Westboro Baptist Church are coming to protest against our congregation this Sunday at our Bethune Street location. They have targeted other New York synagogues this weekend.

Led by Fred Phelps, the Westboro Baptist Church is a hatemongering organization known most widely for picketing the funeral of Matthew Shepard, for their protests at the funerals of servicemen killed in Iraq, and most recently, for protesting at the funeral of Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns, the security officer killed at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington.

We are responding in two ways:
CBST will be holding a non-violent prayer vigil and service during the time of their protest. We cannot allow this group to go unchallenged as they engage in hateful speech at our synagogue. The most powerful response to such hatred is our demonstration of what makes us strong and powerful in the face of bigotry. We will not engage in any confrontational action or shouting matches. They would love it if we were to lose our composure. We will present who we are in a strong and meaningful way.

If you have a tallit, please bring it. If you would like to make colorful signs, please consider using:

"We are all created in God's image"
"God loves all of us"
"God made me gay"
and similar messages

8:45 AM on Sunday, June 21st at our Bethune location


Inspired by a gift from Mitchell Gold, CBST will be participating, as many other LGBT organizations have, in a fundraising effort to counteract the attacks on us by this group.

Mitchell Gold has pledged $10 per minute that the Westboro Baptist Church representatives are picketing us. Their presence will benefit us! We can tell them each minute how much they are raising for us!!

Once the total amount has been raised, we will be sending an acknowledgement letter to the church to let them know that their appearance helped to raise money to support LGBT causes. Many other organizations around the country have done this and raised funds to defeat those who would attack us. (check out to be inspired by other stories like ours).

As of the writing of this email, we have already raised $40 per minute!

we are delighted that Fred Phelps will help raise money to strengthen the work we do to create a progressive religious voice"

You go peeps!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Welcome back Bees!

The BBC reports:

"A bumblebee which is extinct in the UK is to be reintroduced from New Zealand under plans being announced. The short-haired bumblebee was exported from the UK to New Zealand on the first refrigerated lamb boats in the late 19th Century to pollinate clover crops. It was last seen in the UK in 1988, but populations on the other side of the world have survived. Now Natural England and several other conservation groups have launched a scheme to bring the species home.

Poul Christensen, Natural England's acting chairman, said; "Bumblebees are suffering unprecedented international declines and drastic action is required to aid their recovery. "Bumblebees play a key role in maintaining food supplies - we rely on their ability to pollinate crops and we have to do all we can to provide suitable habitat and to sustain the diversity of bee species. As many as 100 of the bees will initially be collected in New Zealand and a captive breeding plan established, with the aim of eventually releasing them at Dungeness, Kent, where they were last seen. They will be flown back on planes in cool boxes, and will not be disturbed, according to Natural England, as they will be in hibernation during transit.

The scheme's project officer Nikki Gammans, of the Stirling-based Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said the bee was a "keystone species" which was key to pollinating around 80% of important crops. "By creating the right habitat for these bumblebees, we are recreating wildflower habitat that has been lost, which will be good for butterflies, water voles and nesting birds." The partnership project is being run by Natural England, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust the RSPB and Hymettus."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Old News

The stream has turned to a trickle, but there is still incredulity at the absolute chutzpah of those British Members of Parliament and their expenses. This is my favourite at the moment - a $2500 duck island. It is actually hard for me to believe that such a group of bland bottom-kissers could be so bizarre and so incredibly corrupt. It is just a pity that Sir Peter Viggers did not buy a Canada Goose Island (known for their large and hard-to-remove poo)

Viva Vincent

Whether you say 'van go' or 'van gokh' or 'van khokh', Simon Schama says this picture is the progenitor of the modern art movement. I like it anyway.

Friday, June 05, 2009

tickling a gorilla

Scientists tell us this week that tickling a gorilla makes him/her laugh much as it would a human. It sounds different only because our vocal chords developed differently. Have a look at the vid - maybe it will cheer you up too.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Happy Pride Month!

The President has officially announced June to be Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual and Transgender Month. This photo is of a memorial in the Nollendorfplatz in Berlin, commemorating the homosexual victims of National Socialism. We have come a long way, and yet there is still so far to go.