Sunday, December 30, 2007
The first is a review of The Golden Compass from the Eight Hour Lunch blog. Actually, no, that’s not quite true. It is a review of a campaign to smear the film. Glad to see Eight Hour Lunch back with blogs.
“I've been following with some disgust the Catholic smear campaign against The Golden Compass. I know I'm a little late to the controversy, but that's because I've been busy doing something the critics at the Vatican were either too busy or too dishonest to do--I'm actually reading it.
I'm two-thirds of the way through the last book of the trilogy now, and I'd recommend the books to anyone. As I've read, the main characters have demonstrated nothing if not a driving hope for a better life and a deep and loyal commitment to the people who deserve their love. Pullman's clever and engaging style create a universe that's easy and enjoyable to immerse yourself in.”
(COV EDITOR: I have to admit I can’t get into Pullman’s style. Not my cup of tea, somehow…)
And the second one is another submission from Eight Hour Lunch. Two for the price of one! Can’t be a bad deal!
“Fighting a Losing Battle
Good news (un)faithful readers and podcast listeners! Your diligent work on the Web is starting to show returns. Mormon "apostle" Melvin Russell Ballard wants the faithful to step up the blogging!
“We cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches.”
Well, I've got news for you Melvin, your church doesn't have a leg to stand on even as you define it. As one of your sincere and devoted critics please allow me to congratulate you for arriving (albeit embarrassingly late) to the party.
Before you get too excited imagining the hoards of devoted young believers falling over themselves to follow your counsel, consider the humble numbers of this single blog. Last year, the Eight Hour Lunch Podcast was downloaded 14,582 times. Since January 1, 2007 this single site has served over 33,530 pages. And I've done a piss-poor job of keeping it current.”
(COV EDITOR: Great post! It makes some very telling points. But what faithful Mormon knows what their church teaches now? (Hinckley has spent so long denying the basic tenets of Mormon Doctrine that they are wandering around wondering who or what to believe.)
And from me, Matt, here is my post-Christmas post
“Hi. Hope you all had a good Christmas. I did. Champagne, wine, Sherry, Scotch, Port, real ale, lager, tea, coffee and some Vimto, too. (Vimto is a cordial that you add to water, though it is also available as a ready mixed drink, often carbonated. So you see the difference between me and a Mormon is that I can chose to drink alcohol or to not drink alcohol. Mormons do not have the luxury of free will.”
Also, a bit of fun with online photomanipulation of Mormon prophets
And also, a bit of fun, the Nativity story, seem from the point of view of the Cat at the Inn.
Hope you enjoy that piece of fiction.
Happy New Year!
See you in two weeks time!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Hi. Hope you all had a good Christmas. I did.
Visited my mother on Christmas Eve, which was nice. She is getting better but oddly enough made little mention of her usual favourite topic, Mormonism, which made a nice change.
More post-Christmas expense. My poor Compaq laptop is getting a little tired and old so will be given a life of partial retirement. I have bought an HP Pavilion. It was the only computer close to my budget and has a much bigger screen so that should be good for my aging eyes!
Also had to buy a new modem, a Zyxel. I was going to use it in wireless mode but decided to use Ethernet, instead. AOL has cocked up and it is not possible at the moment to have AOL on my new computer at the moment.
I think that’s enough waffle from me. Happy New Year, everyone! See you in two weeks!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
THE CAT’S CHRISTMAS
It was springtime. While the days were getting warmer, it was still very cold at nights when you could see the stars, bright and twinkly in the sky. When I was a kitten I used to try and catch them. But now I am an adult cat I know I would have to jump very high to catch them, perhaps even twenty times my length- far too high for a cat!
I am not usually allowed in the part of the house where my people lived. Though I am sometimes allowed in, but I can see no reason why sometimes I am allowed in, but other times not. It is hard to work out what human people do. With cat people, it is easy.
My special human friend lives there with her parents. Usually we play together; sometimes we both cuddle up and sleep in front of the oven in the back room.
She is usually kind. Sometimes she oversteps the mark, but a thump with a paw or -occasionally- a slap with one claw across the back of her hand is enough to re-establish the limits. Well, you have to keep kittens in their place (even human ones) or very soon you would not know where you are!
The lady -the mistress- is kind enough to me and gets me food and water. Still, as she says, it is my job to kill any mice and rats that dare to enter her territory.
The master is different. Although he swears about me, he is really secretly very fond of me, making a fuss of me when he thinks nobody is watching. Although he tells the mistress off for feeding me too much, he secretly feeds me much more tasty morsels than she EVER does!
The master always talks to me, as he paces up and down in the back room. But recently he began to become more and more angry. I don’t mind this, but I do have to be very wary of his legs and feet and try to keep out of his way, whilst doing my best to look attentive.
I’ts a disgrace, cat! He shouted. How can we be expected to house all the hundreds of people who will be coming back to
Don’t tell me! –It’s because a stupid Roman thought up the idea. Mind you, cat, that’s all the Romans know about anything. Building straight roads through things, not round them like good, God fearing people, worshipping false idols and counting people for tax reasons, as if they were wine sponges to be squeezed!
I sat watching him. I know my part.
He suddenly bent down and ruffled my fur and gave me a piece of meat. I purred as I eat it, just to show how much I appreciate his acts of kindness. In a way, I suppose I like him best of all.
I was normally indifferent to the strangers who come. -I remember when I was a kitten I did not like them, but quickly I realised that humans kick you or tread on your tail usually because as their heads and eyes are in such a funny position they cant see anything in front of them properly! I Laughed when I worked this out. It seems such a sad deformity for them to be burdened with.
Also, I realised that there was a link between the people staying and how much food would be bought. The strangers came with money that the mistress used to go to the market and exchange for food in the market.
I used to follow her there every morning when I was a kitten, but I soon found that not everyone liked cats, so I decided to stay at home and wait for her, instead.
I began not to like the place so much as more and more people began to come and stay. There was so many of them that they even slept in the back room where mistress prepared the food -and that had NEVER happened before!
To stay out of harms way I began spending more and more of my time in the stable across the back of the yard with the sheep, goats and cattle. -Mind you, the master’s cousin and uncle had just taken the sheep up into the hills as they do every spring.
I was in the house late one evening -just waiting for an opportunity to retreat to the stable in a huff!- when someone -it was a man from some place in the North -wherever THAT is!- said; This is strange -its light outside, yet there’s no moon tonight. Must be an omen of some kind. Should we get a Rabbi, do you think?
If he can fit in here, said a young man with a gruff voice. Anyway, what would you do, hide beneath his beard?! Everyone laughed, but I could tell they were all a bit nervous, which made me worried, too.
As the laughing died down, there was a thumping on the door.
No! We can’t fit anyone else in. -Cant they read the notice you put on the door?
The master said; Maybe not. Not all can read. I’ll deal with it. Shouldn’t take me too long. I followed him to the door. -After all, I am a cat and it is in our nature to need to know what is happening. Besides, I like to greet and inspect our guests!
As he stood before the door I could see that he was working himself up to turn the latecomer away. As he opened the door the words seemed to die in his throat as we were met by a pitiful sight.
On the doorstep was a man who looked so tired that he lent on his staff, nearly ready to drop. He looked like a well-to-do craftsman, but he was covered with the dirt of many days journey.
But he was not really what caught our attention, for he was not alone. With him, a little way back in the road, was a young girl on a very tired donkey. As I looked at her I could see that she looked worn out and was heavily in kitten.
Please, the man sounded tired beyond endurance. I know you are full, but my wife is pregnant and we have come from
The master looked upset, for all his gruff ways he is a very kindly man.
I’m sorry, but there really is no room at the inn. -Why not try Zac’s place further down on the market street?
We did. He sent us to you.
The girl gave a little gasp. Joseph. -Please. Just take me to the edge of town. I think I must be near to my time. You’ll have to build me a little tent with your cloak.
You will do no such thing! Shouted the master. I am sure we can find a corner or... Suddenly he stopped. What am I thinking of? We have as much room as you could want and more, besides! -Come with me!
He went outside and if I hadn’t nimbly jumped to one side, he would have kicked me as he hurried round to the side gate which led to the yard.
He pointed to the stable; When I first started the inn, that was it. Guests and us upstairs, animals downstairs. We built the new place six years ago.
It’s not too bad. -The floors upstairs are too dangerous; otherwise you could have gone upstairs and used that. But there’s plenty of room downstairs, so long as you don’t mind sharing with the animals. -Still, the lads collected the sheep a week or two back to take them up to the hills, so there’s more room than there would have been.
Get your belongings sorted out and whilst you do that, Ill go and get the wife to bring you some blankets and some food. -I thought she was mad when she and some lad she’d hired to help her turned up with so much food from the market this morning. Told me she had a feeling that she should. Maybe she was right.
The man and the woman looked at each other and a smile passed between them as if they were sharing some secret joke.
As he strode across the yard the master said; normally can’t see a thing at night when the moon isn’t out, without a lantern, but there’s a big star or something up there, right above us. I suppose King Herrod’s wise men will be trying to work out what it means. -Much good it will do them. He’s not a patch on his Father, the old king, that one!
He left the couple in the stables and as he returned to the house I waited and watched the couple as they settled in.
There was something strange about the woman. -Strange but sort of beautiful. It was odd, but she was almost as beautiful as a cat.
Her husband and my mistress helped put her down on a bed of straw my master had hurriedly put together. He apologised for how rough it was, but she said it felt as if she was in a palace. She smiled at him and he went bright red, and coughed.
Not long after that, she gave birth. Now, I have seen my mistress drop a litter of human kittens –well, I say litter, but she only ever has one at a time!- and normally there is a lot of shouting and yelling, but the woman was very quiet and almost peaceful.
But when her kitten was born, he looked at me! I know he did. And he smiled at me. I stared at him and I felt all weak on my legs, like I had never felt before. But it was a good, warm feeling. Like when your mother cuddles you and licks you all over. That kind of feeling. They wrapped him up –I expect it was because all human children lose their fur, somehow, and laid him in a little box thing, called a manger. He seemed a lot more quiet than most human kittens, I thought. All the while, through the night there was a funny bright light in the sky. It did not make much difference to me (I can get by in the day or night with my sharp eyes) but it upset and intrigued the humans.
The man sorted out the Roman Census for him and his wife. Though there was a bit of confusion as the child had been born here in
Soon, everyone had gone back to their homes, everyone except our regular guests, a travelling salesman and our family in the stables. Master and mistress begged them to come in –their names were Joseph and Mary, but they said they were very comfortable where they were and did not wish to move again so soon! Mistress was worried she would look like a bad landlady, but I told her it would be alright, as I would look after them and keep an eye on them. The lads with the sheep came down to see the baby, they even bought a lamb with them. They said it could not have lived outside, but it wasn’t that cold out there. I think the boy with them just wanted to introduce his favourite lamb to the special human kitten!
It was one of these occasions when I was watching over them that I saw three very important looking humans on camels. In case you have never seen a camel they are like horses, but not quite. They were dressed in fine robes and they gave presents to the baby, but the mother and the father seemed anxious.
Then, as quickly as they came, the family went away again. Some important person came looking for them, a messenger from the King, but my humans were only able to say they had gone to
I am an old cat now, my whiskers are drooping a bit, my fur is going grey, my bones ache sometimes and me and master do not do very much now, but sit by the fire and we both purr, but I still miss that human kitten, the one they called Jesus.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
But on with the COV for 16th of December!
Here's the link for my COV contribution, which is about Romney. I love the guy like I love George Bush and Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, which is the kind of love that can best be measured with an electronic microscope. Other measurements would require a ruler, but that's another topic for another day.
“SL Trib comments about Romney
It’s been curious seeing the headlines change through the day about Romney and his “historic” speech. Initially, the headlines highlighted this gem: “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.” (Hey Jesus, can you come back down here and bitch-slap your followers starting with Romney, please pretty please?)”
And now to From the Ashes a Christmas-themed posting
“I grew up thinking that pagans were the epitome of evil. Worse than Catholics or Muslims, because at least they believed in God. My exposure to pagans and paganism was extremely limited, of course. My only exposure, I think, was from the movie Dragnet with Dan Aykroyd. Those pagans partied, did drugs, stole police cars, dressed in animal skins, and sacrificed virgins. And wasn't there something about playboy bunnies? They were bad. Okay, so I still think sacrificing virgins or anyone else is definitely not a good idea, but my thoughts on paganism have changed.”
MATT INTERJECTS: This was the Mormon upbringing that I had, too. I tried to square it with the fact that my Grandmother was a descendent of the Wise Women of Wales (she could cure warts, for example) and I failed. Grandmother would be pleased with the fact that I left Mormonism)
And a Christmas time post From The Ashes Post
“We got roped into attending a Baptist church's Christmas choir performance today, as my father-in-law was playing in the orchestra. Not our cup of tea, but we wanted to go at least to support him. You know, the "the relationship is most important" mantra I'm trying to use to negotiate this Mormon-EvilAtheist divide in the family.”
And next we go over to the blog of Sister Mary Lisa
“If I were free of all fear, I would...
I have an idea that I'd like to try with the help of my friends who read my blog. Once a very good friend gave me the assignment to write about this topic:
I posted it elsewhere, and it was raw and scary and amazing to write about my fears and to interact with others about them from the relative anonymity of the internet. So I hereby propose that it'd be cool for anyone who wishes to anonymously send me their thoughts on this topic, and I'll post them here for anyone to read and comment on. Trust me, this is way cool to do. It puts you in touch with yourself in a way that is not common, and I was so glad I did it.”
Now to South Bay Soliloquies
This is really scary and NOT for the fainthearted! It’s about IPod surgery!!
“Bricked iPod, Update
I finally got around to cracking my iPod case open. It took a penknife and a guitar pick. If you try this at home, know that there's a little trick to it and you really have to dig at the case to get it to pop open the first time. There are videos floating around on youTube if you want a little guidance.”
And here’s one from CV Rick aka Ninja Writer but NOT Clutch, as that’s not what he is known by in the Blogosphere. Sorry ‘bout that. I’ll keep that in mind for the future!
Here's my submission.
It's about the Christmas Tree, so that's appropriate.
And here is the submission of Matt
“I think my brother has a problem with me. But I am not entirely certain why. In fact, in truth, I haven’t got the foggiest notion what crap he is pulling through him! Seriously I would like some input on this one as it is a puzzle to me. Can you please comment on this problem I have? I think there might be multiple causes.”
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, folks!
The next COV will be Sunday 30th of December.
I think my brother has a problem with me... But I am not entirely certain why. In fact, in truth, I haven’t got the foggiest notion what crap he is pulling through him! Seriously I would like some input on this one as it is a puzzle to me. Can you please comment on this problem I have? I think there might be multiple causes.
Firstly, I think he might resent the fact that I am out of TSCC. I mean, let’s face it? What will I do this Christmas?
After a leisurely and late breakfast with a mug of Irish Coffee, or freshly brewed coffee, we will enjoy mince pies and a glass or two of vintage Port or Sherry.
We might enjoy a glass or two of 10 year old single malt and settle down to watch some Carol service on the TV. We might even take in a Carol service at the local church. (We probably won’t, but we could, if we wanted to.)
We will then sample various beers and with our supper (turkey and stuffing sandwiches) we will drink a little more wine and go for a walk in the cold air here on the English/Welsh border. When we get back we will enjoy glasses of Smoking Bishop and more mince pies!
(Here’s the recipe for Smoking Bishop http://www.msgr.ca/msgr-2/dickens_smoking_bishop.htm which is basically a mulled wine punch.)
And what will my brother and his family enjoy?
Breakfast with Barleycup. (A vile concoction that many people have a life-threatening allergy to).
Mince pies with Welch's Grape Juice. (I tried Welch’s grape juice at a food show recently. It has to be one of the most evil-tasting drinks I have ever tried. Any Mormon who expresses “love” for it is a liar, in my opinion.
And then it’s a case of “Anyone for another drink of Hemlock... err... sorry!... Barleycup?
With Christmas dinner there’s either Welch’s Grape Juice or Schloer grape juice which is just a little more palatable than Welch’s. But not by much!
My bother did not want me to know he was emigrating to
Even more galling only months later it seems his darling wife who was pushing to emigrate to Canada now decides she doesn’t like Canada, so is pushing for them to move back!
He came back home for a week –he stayed at our mother’s flat- but not once made any effort to contact me. I phoned my mother on Monday to check if he was alright, he came later that day and he left late Friday afternoon, just before I phoned my mother again.
He clearly wants nowt to do with me. But why?
The summer before last my aunt had her 90th birthday. I was holding a plate and a can of lager when my nephew asked me to write down my email address. I asked him to hold my plate and drink whilst I wrote it down. At this my brother came running over, knocking an elderly relative out of the way in his haste. He realised what had happened –that I had not been offering my nephew (who is 16) a drink and looked very, very foolish indeed. (I’ll add here that under
What my brother did not know was that I had been giving my nephew the kind of talk HE should give him! My brother is under the impression that his son does not drink alcohol because “the church teaches that we should not drink alcohol.” WRONG! Sadly, my nephew drinks like a fish. Not wisely or sensibly, mind you, but spirits and he and his friends guzzle the bottles down until they are empty.
I pointed out that this was not sensible as it would make him feel very ill. He admitted that it did, I advised him to either keep of spirits altogether, or to mix water or soft drinks with them. If you want to drink alcohol, I told him, stick to small amounts of lager, or beer. I told him about the advantages of drinking real ale over other alcoholic drinks (highly carbonated lagers will make you drunk much quicker.)
Actually, my brother –who is a couple of years younger than me- has resented me for quite a while before that incident, so I don’t think it could be that.
At another family party my mother had found me in the kitchen chatting about various types of real ale that we had tried. She looked at me, looked over at my brother (who had his “smug git” expression on) and she surprised me by saying: “Talking about beer with the lads, are you?” To which I proudly acknowledged .
She looked at me, looked at my cousin, patted me on the arm and said: “Well, thank God ONE of my boys has turned out normal!”
As she walked off, a smile on her lips, my cousin –who is a nevermo- said: “What the bloody hell was all that about?” To which I replied: “I haven’t a clue!”
My brother also has a problem with my wife. She is a Catholic and that has caused some friction.
So… any ideas? Please post your comments!
Sunday, December 09, 2007
"Gov. Romney went way over the line when he attacked Southerners for respecting the historical significance of the Confederate flag. Perhaps the citizens of his state of Massachusetts still hate Southerners, but Gov. Romney should not expect us to accept his outrageous attack on Southern heritage."
Responding to a question about the Confederate flag, Romney said, "That flag frankly, is divisive and shouldn't be shown. Right now with the kinds of issues we've got in this country, I'm not going to get involved with a flag like that."
"That's not a flag that I would recognise so that I would hold it up in my room."
"The people of our country have decided not to fly that flag. I think that's the right thing."
Sullivan went on to say, "We were not aware that the people of the country have had their First Amendment rights abridged as Mr. Romney seems to desire. Whether Gov. Romney likes it or not, Confederate flags are freely flown throughout the U.S. and in other countries as well."
"The Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. does not participate in partisan politics. We do speak out when anyone disparages the honorable service of Confederate soldiers and the symbols which identified them," Sullivan concluded.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
“Yesterday I posted the "talk" given by Julie Beck, Relief Society General President, unedited. I needed to think about how I wanted to formulate my final response to this topic, so I posted it without commentary. I gave myself some time to mull it over.
In my opinion, Beck is either kidding herself or acting as a flunky for church leadership.
I see why the group at whatwomenknow.org are upset with Beck. In one short, relatively inane address Beck managed to insult just about any woman, LDS or not. Despite my feelings on this subject, I will focus more on the technical aspects of her speech as well as the meaning of her words.”
Eric’s analysis of what Beck said is on the money, to my way of thinking. Of course, it is possible that Beck was only saying what she had been told to say. The GOF (Grand Old Fossils) of TSCC (The So-called Church) might have wanted this message sent out to out of control Mormon females. “Some of them have GASP!- got more than one piercing! And of them are not popping out babies like rabbits! We must stop this wild behaviour!”
Next up is something rather special from Kita Kazoo. It is an article she has written for her own webpage:
”This week I have written an article for our webpage that I want to submit. http://happy-valley-tattoo.com/2007/11/mormon-tattoo-piercing-controversy.html”
This is a very well researched piece. One quote from it is “To further the injury of one’s personal opinion of fashion being stated as if it is a law from God, President Hinckley allows for one sort of permanent decorative change to ones appearance and not another, which seems hypocritical to me. Mr. Hinckley allows within the church for women to have their faces tattooed with permanent cosmetics and wear pierced earrings, (but one pair only – one in each ear) as those are socially acceptable with in his peer group.”
Is it possible that Mr Hinckley just hasn’t heard of permanent cosmetics at his advanced time in life? So this means that his decisions –and here’s a shocker!- are based not on revelations from God but on his own prejudicial views, only!
And now, here’s one from Clutch. Quite a sad one, actually.
“I watched my father's music choices change as he gave his life over to the Mormon church.”
(Yes, the Mormon church destroyed my family’s happy pre-Mormon life, too, slowly, for several years after my mother decided we were going to become Mormons. Then there was none of it left…)
And from South Bay Soliloquies, a movie review of Hitman. (Or a film review for us Brits. Some of which still call them The Flicks, based on the original touring Victorian showmen who used to tour with hand-cranked devices with moving images caused by the flicking of pictures…)
And here is mine for this issue:-
“Agenda? Take your agenda and shove it!
Sometimes the RFM board pisses me off. There are some people who use it to push a particular agenda. These usually have naff-all to do with the real agenda of the board, that of Recovery From Mormonism.”
That’s it for this issue!
See you in two weeks time, Sunday 23rd December. Yes. That’s Christmas week. Have fun! And please do send your entry in.
Maybe we could have a bit of Christmas fun with that one…
Others fulminate about the dangers of NOT using the education system and drone on interminably about the evils and dangers of home schooling. (They base this on the fact that a family member home schools and is not doing a particularly good job. –In their opinion, that is… They seem to overlook the fact that it might be their family who can’t home school, or that their opinion of how their family member teachers their child is flawed.)
Amusingly some of the posters quoted from some VERY dubious sources: For example a doctor who had LOST a case in which he had libelled another MD, and who had thus lost the respect of his colleagues. Others quoted from a Canadian doctor who had been running a campaign to have any mother whose child died in a house fire caused by the child playing with matches or fire lighters charged with murder. But of course, they were only interested in his crackpot views on medicine, not any of his other equally deluded and dangerous views… And why only mothers, not fathers?)
Then there’s the
Of course, whenever this is pointed out on the board, toys are thrown out of the pram, and nappies/diapers filled as the poor wee mite loses control of their bowel movements as they contort their little baby faces in to masks of rage!
They give the impression of not really wanting views that differ from their own to be expressed on RFM...
And others seem to have the agenda of always having to be right. They just love to argue. They claim knowledge they can’t have, claiming that YOUR personal experience did not happen! For example: “YOU could not have had to get the police to issue an order to the local Bishop! YOU could not have served in three different countries on your mission! YOU could not have been spoken to like that by a Bishop!” (Well gee, thanks, mate. But I was there. You weren’t.)
I remember one poster who denied on the board that the temperature at 1pm where I live was 90oF. He based this on the fact that the temperature at a place 200 miles distant had been projected to be only 70oF at 6am. (That’s 200 miles distant, and 7 hours earlier, before the sun had risen in the sky, and projected figures only. And in the
Even though at least five other posters in the UK confirmed that the temperature had risen to the 90s from as far a field as South Wales and Scotland, he STILL claimed that he was right and that all the posts from the UK were coming from one person. Even though the other posters confirming this were regular posters who had ALL signed in on the board!
Oh. Sorry. That turned into a rant. But I DID enjoy it! Maybe we should rant a bit more, I wonder?!