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Lets Faith It

“Religion is a force for good in the world” was the title for a debate in Toronto yesterday between former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaking for the motion and intellectual journalist Christopher Hitchens speaking against it.

Hitchens, currently undergoing chemotherapy for aggressive cancer was nonetheless in characteristic sparkling form and I simply could not agree more with the majority of the points he made.

For instance (paraphrased):

Religion is destructive, is based on superstitious hokum and, a bit like communism, might briefly seem noble until you see that it steals your every freedom away. Religions require that we are created sick and then ordered to be well, and over us to supervise this is a sort of celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea … Salvation is offered at the low price of the surrender of your critical faculties.

The response from Mr Blair besides being weak saw him also spectacularly miss the point – “I do not consider the leader of North Korea a religious icon,”

An audience vote produced a victory for Hitchens, with 68 per cent opposing the resolution and 32 per cent supporting it.

I enjoyed the Hitchens book God is Not Great and found very little to disagree with. His journalistic critique of religion I’d suggest is much more user friendly than his fellow author scientist Richard Dawkins’s work.

When Hitchens broadens his scope to include international politics and war, like his nemesis George Galloway he can descend into complete craziness no matter how well he structures a point or argues a case.

On religion though he is usually just about spot on.

The Independent article reporting on the Hitchens – Blair debate is here


The Wit and Wisdom of Tabloids


Remember “Gotcha”, “Freeddie Starr ate my Hamster”, “Phew Wot a Scorcher” and “It was the Sun wot done it”?

Well it would seem that the tabloid press in Ireland take matters one step further. As the serious press wrestled with the fall out from the country’s banking crisis which has escalated into a disaster for the country’s economy, the Irish Daily Star delivered a succinct and concise verdict on the government thus:


Some time tomorrow, this site will welcome its 600,000th visitor since January 2008.

That’s no’ bad.

Thanks everyone.

Gartocharn Terrorist Explosion – Suspect Named!

Police have named a man they are seeking in connection with the explosion in Garadhban Forest at Ross Priory.
The Islamist terrorist with Scottish connections is believed to be known as……..Osama Ben Lomond

Once Upon a Time in America

100 years ago for example:

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1910. "Wayne County Building." The Motor City before it got very motorized.

Click here to view full size and count the 46 stars on the flag.

Circa 1910. "American Express Co., Main and Sixth Los Angeles

Click here for full size.

Jacksonville, Florida, circa 1910. "Dinner hour on the docks."

Click here for full size.

May 1910. Wilmington, Delaware. "James Lequlla, newsboy, age 12. Selling newspapers 3 years. Average earnings 50 cents per week.

Click here for full size.

I’ve featured the site at shorpy.com before and it is a fantastic treasure trove of photos of old USA. The detail in the full size prints is amazing.

The Big Chair

I had occasion to accompany my daughter to the local infirmary outpatients dept this morning.

This is the waiting room.

The chairs on the right of the picture are common or garden waiting room chairs.

I couldn’t help but notice that the blue chair on the left was somewhat bigger.

I speculated what this could be for.

Panto season is just coming up so maybe it was a prop for a production of Jack and the Beanstalk? But then this was an infirmary waiting room not backstage at the town hall.

Perhaps it was for childrens’ amusement? Two or three of them could imagine it was a…..er……big chair.

After jokingly speculating that it be used by Brian Blessed in a future Have I Got News For You? We then jokingly speculated that there might be an obesity clinic.

We asked one of the nurses.

The answer was “We have an increasing number of patients with obesity issues and we have to cater for them”

I mean really! Just how fat would your arse have to be to require that chair?

Gartocharn Terror – New Shock!

Terrorism Investigators

Suicide Bombers