Provincial Letters

Far from the mad crowds of the city, Blaise Pascal passed comment on the strange behaviour of this urban contemporaries in his Provincial Letters. The connection between them and this blog is somewhat tenuous.

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Location: Grimsby, N E Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

My star sign in Superstition. And I didn't believe in reincarnation last time, either. The only thing I can't tolerate is intolerance. I am a fanatical ant-fanaticist. I am bigotted only where bigots are concerned. I am a fundamentalist atheist. I'm proud to be a product of evolution; I know it in my genes.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Posted @ 01:03Keeping my faith I

Nothing re-affirms my belief in the ultimate greatness of human achievement than a significant event in space exploration. Actually, any event in space exploration usually makes me feel good about the world. Today's event involves the New Horizons mission to Pluto (which was a planet when the craft was launched but isn't now — but that's another story). You can read all about it here.

And just for pub-quiz addicts, other trivia buffs and those of us who love a human story, the naming of Pluto by Venetia Phair makes great personal history (there's also a transcript of an interview with her — her uncle named the moons of Mars!). I seem to remember reading somewhere that one of the instruments on New Horizons has been named after Venetia Phair, but I can't find a reference to this on-line. Later: Found it. Should have known it would've been in The Guardian. And yes, there's an instrument on New Horizons named after her, see "The girl who named a planet over breakfast".

I love this stuff. I just have to quote from the interview with this 87 year-old planet-namer:

What if anything would you like to tell all the scientists and engineers and all the people who worked on this New Horizons mission? What would you say to them?

I would say, I think, “The best of luck.” And I can only hope that they discover all that they want to discover from this probe which must be one of the most exciting things that has happened astronomically recently.

When you look back at your life, isn’t it exciting that there you were an 11 year old school girl who named this planet, and we’ve come so far technologically that now we can send a spacecraft all this distance in the solar system to this planet Pluto?

Yes, it is absolutely amazing, but it is paralleled by almost everything that has happened in the world, hasn’t it. I mean we have stepped so far into the future as it were since the 1920’s and 1930’s. It leaves one absolutely stunned.

Do you like to look up at the stars?

Very much. Sadly it gets increasingly difficult to (do this). It’s so well lit around here that only the brightest stars really get a look-in unless we have a power outage of course. But occasionally if one is in the country, and it is a good clear night, it is absolutely wonderful.

NASA; Interview With Venetia Burney Phair

"It leaves one absolutely stunned... is absolutely wonderful" — it most certainly does and is.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Posted @ 15:13Turophilia I

If you're having problems with the title of this piece, the following Greek reference sources may help: [ref1] [ref2] [ref3]. Oh, and there might be some pictures in the text below which will help. Oh, and the words may explain a bit (but don't expect too much).


The author wishes to disassociate himself and all true turophiliacs from the actions, opinions and behaviour of the militant Fromagists. We do not support their violent impositions of their beliefs upon innocent turophobics (no matter how misguided and immoral their beliefs may seem to us true believers): squirting chive & onion Primula at senior citizens in supermarkets will not convert the pagans. And all the stuff about rubbing cottage cheese into the firm breasts of naked females is just... ...excuse me, I need to go and lie down.

Anyway, the point is, they're not representative of true turophiliacs who are peace-loving and well-behaved (although they like cheese more than peace; and they quite like misbehaving with cheese in the privacy of their own homes... ...excuse me, I need to lie down again).


A corpse is meat gone bad. Well and what's cheese? Corpse of milk.

James Joyce; Ulysses; Episode 6 - Hades

Turophilia — or thantolactophilia (work it out) as it's sometimes known — dates back to the dawn of human civilization. Since our stone-age ancestor left a bowl of sheep's milk outside a cave for several days until it went solid with a nice blue mould on it (and his wife came home from her mother's and says "What the hell's that smelly mess? And what did you leave it on that rock for?"), human beings have sought true enlightenment in the curdled remains of once-liquid milk. The near-miraculous production of such exalted substances from mundane mammary excretions was seem as both a metaphor for human progress and as a true expression of the meaning of the universe (let alone the marvellous manifestation of multitudinous mutations of words beginning with 'm').

The Unknown Prophet

Lost in the mists of time and rennet intoxication, the Unknown Prophet (a.k.a. Weltkäsemann) gave us all the Laws of Cheese (written on the sacred Gruyère of Neasden):

  1. There is no cheese but cheese and cheese shall be the whole of the law.
  2. You shall not covet thy neighbours' cheese (scoffing it is OK; coveting is not something which can be done with cheese).
  3. Honour thy cheese and enjoy it with crackers.
  4. Cheese never has the aroma of smelly feet; smelly feet have the aroma of neglected cheese. The fault is the feet, not the cheese.
  5. When two or three are gathered together, let them eat cheese (and possibly drink some alcoholic beverages).
  6. You cannot eat too much cheese; there is simply not enough time, nor enough cheese, to do this.

There are, in truth, ten Laws of Cheese, but the final four are part of the Secret Doctrine and cannot be revealed outside the sacred temples of cheese (a.k.a. the refrigerator; the chilled shelf at the supermarket; Swig's on a Saturday with Dave P and those meltingly smooth Carr's Cheese Melts).

Practicing Turophilia

Hmmm, cheese.

St Homer of Springfield

It is vitally important to practice turophilia as practice makes perfect and practice is hugely enjoyable. Some helpful hints will be presented to conclude this introduction:

  • always eat Welsh cheese carefully;
  • if you must read French literature, take it slowly, don't gorge on Zola;
  • in sport, always support the competitor called Bert (do I really have to spell out that this involves shouting "Come on Bert"?);

Want to know more about turophilia?

Whether you like it or not, there will be more on turophilia. Watch this blog.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Posted @ 01:30NEWS (for extremely unobservant people)

For those of you who are extremely unobservant, please note that the format of my blog has changed. It has a different layout, uses different typefaces and has different colours. I point this out in case you failed to notice.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Posted @ 23:16Headlines 2014 I

The following are based on true stories contained in several copies of several newspapers which dropped through a wormhole into my lap in the early hours of this morning. The only liberties that have been taken with the original texts have been the invention of the facts. If anyone wishes to verify the content of the original documents I will be most surprised.


The Prime Minister has announced that a Bill will be introduced in the next session of Parliament to outlaw body piercings. A statement from Number 10 stated: "Body piercings are indicative of such anti-social behaviour as disagreeing with the government, listening to inappropriate music, socialising outside a gym and not taking vitamin supplements. A ban on body piercing would be an invaluable tool to ensure that everyone behaves in an appropriate manner and doesn't upset anyone who doesn't like them".


Recent proposals for the establishment of a premium-rate phone line allowing members of the public to report speeding motorists has been slammed by motorists groups and leading public figures such as Mr Murdoch. "The police need to do their job," said one commentator, "and they shouldn't expect members of the public to do their job for them. They need to catch real criminals, not innocent motorists whose only offence is ignoring speed limits. After all, what damage does speeding do? Yes, if there is an accident it makes it more likely that someone will die. But it would only be a pedestrian, and they don't really count."

"If this goes on, there'll be phone lines for shopping people who park illegally, drive dangerously or ignore traffic lights & zebra crossings. Every driver does this sort of thing now and again, when they think it's OK. They shouldn't be penalised for just driving how they want."

In related news, the Government has announced that the death penalty is to be introduced for pedestrians who cross the road too slowly or walk on the pavement in a menacing manner. Motorists' organisations have welcomed the move as improving road safety.


Congratulations are pouring in following the announcement by the Vatican that Madonna is to be made a saint, the first ever "living saint". After her conversion to Roman Catholicism, the pop star, author, aid worker and flower arranger has worked tirelessly to promote her new church. The video of last year's number one single Hi Mary, Get Me God On The Phone (a disco version of Ave Maria) featured a guest appearance by the Pope.

The beatification is believed to have been directly prompted by Madonna's support for the Government's "Kill a non-believer" initiative, launched last year.

The foregoing was liberally inspired by the readers and writers of the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. What would we do without them?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Posted @ 23:05Bits & Pieces II

Well, here's a thing - me posting on consecutive days. It's not so much that I've got a lot to say (!) more that I've stumbled across a few interesting things this evening and felt that passing them on (and my own little thoughts on them) to my regular readers may enhance or enlighten their days. Plus I needed to expose the world to a few little random thoughts of my own. Enjoy!

By the way, "Bits & Pieces I" appeared here in January 2006.

Has is ever occurred to you... I

Has it ever occurred to you that unicellular organisms multiply by dividing? Is this the clue to some previously undiscovered arithmetical principle?


In the USA the election-feast has come and gone, it seems I have placed enough temporal distance between myself and those events to make some sort of comment. Or, at least, make some indirect comment.

During the campaign I read a lot of stuff on US websites (and other websites authored by US ex-patriots) regarding the great issues being debated and the personal insults swapped in the name of democracy (the latter seemed to appear with greater frequency than the former; however, my sample was small, possibly unrepresentative and certainly unquantified). The thing that seemed to get most Republicans (and right-wing Democrats; US political organisation is very strange) especially hot under the collar was the issue of gay marriage. For a country which has a constitution which specifically excludes a state religion, they use religion as an argument for and against everything.

The UK avoided any trouble by legislating for Civil Partnerships but knowing that everyone would call it Gay Marriage.

Anyway, reading Beth's Own Blog today, I came across this wonderful list: "10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong". Give it a read, it will give you a smile.

Has it ever occurred to you... II

Has it ever occurred to you that computers on TV and in films always work faster and better than the ones you have to use? Actually, the same goes for cars, telephones and TVs. And spaceships. And stargates.

Science is not just for geeks

People appear to think that: (a) science is difficult to explain; (b) scientific words endow any statement or proclamation with undisputed certainty; (c) science is boring and, anyway, can't explain everything. I won't bother to explore (c) just now, maybe another time for that. Two articles I've come across recently, however, can be used to argue against (a) and (b).

Calculus is one of the most important mathematical tools we possess. It owes its development to Liebniz and Newton (those in the know will realise that they erected the vast edifice on the foundations of others). To understand the history and meaning of calculus is to understand the history and meaning of our modern technological society. A very readable and very accurate and very enjoyable article on the history of calculus has come to my attention: "to infinity and beyond". I'm grateful for Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy for pointing me at this gem.

Some of you have been bored by my constant griping about the plethora of products proclaiming their high content of omega-3 and its supposed benefits. I'm not the only one (doing the griping, not the boring). Without going into the details of what omega-3 fatty-acids actually are and how they're used in the body, let's just say that there is some question about how the evidence for the alleged benefits was obtained. [if anyone does want to know the details, a private consultation can be arranged with suitably qualified individuals]

Durham Council has been the instigator of the trials which have produced the evidence for the claimed beneficial effects of omega-3-rich fish oils. The trouble is the don't seem to be keen on sharing the details of these trials, just the sensational conclusions. Ben Goldacre — who writes the Bad Science column for the Guardian — has been trying to find out what exactly was done in these trials in order to assess how significant the findings are. Durham Council seem to be reluctant to provide the required information. You should read all about this on Ben's site: "Just... Show... Me... The... Data..." (love the use of ellipsis).

The End

Well, I think that'll do for today.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Posted @ 09:29Drinking tea in the modern world

Firstly, chaps & chapesses, this blog has switched to the new Blogger software. This shouldn't cause you any problems but you know what these computer programmer types are like, they always say that and then... ...boom, the world falls apart ("but some things stay in place").

Back to the tea...

Excuse me a moment while I make a cup of said beverage...

Tea, of course, is the downfall of all right-thinking people: one cup and you're hooked; everything else — such as writing blogs — becomes subsumed in the ritual of continually drinking tea rather than do anything else (unless someone offers beer). You know the feeling: you know you ought to finish the lyrics for your new song, record the bass and drums and let people know that you're still making those daft noises called music (let alone expending the vast intellectual efforts researching the compelling nonsense in this bloig). But then, the temptation: ahh more tea.

It is well known (by me, anyway) that Mark W suffers from this affliction. As, I must admit, do I. If anyone knows a cure, please let me know.

The history of tea


And in conclusion

Well, I think I'll have another cup of tea.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Posted @ 00:01Jurassic Park is on the moon

It falls to everyone interested in the natural world to present their discoveries no matter how strange and unusual they may be. That they fall outside the accepted interpretations of the nature of the universe should not deter one from declaring them to the world at large. The scientific establishment is always wary and afraid of any theory which will upset their safe and hidebound hypotheses (and, of course, the vast edifice of lies which support their bloated egos). But we must not be afraid to be different nor to think the unthinkable. We should not fear the scientific establishment who are themselves so afraid of our theories that they haven't commented on them at all. Such refusals to comment are indicative of their denial any theory which contradicts their conspiracy of falsehood.

Dinosaurs come from the moon

It is well known that fossils are made of rocks and stone. The Moon is also made of rocks and stone. This cannot be a coincidence. Any number of ludicrous theories have been proposed to explain this remarkable observation, most of which revolve around the unsubstantiated conjecture that the Earth and the Moon share a common origin. It therefore follows that fossils (and, consequently, dinosaurs) must come from the Moon.

Dinosaurs were designed

Dinosaurs don't look like anything alive today except for pictures of great big lizards in children's picture books! It is impossible for anyone to imagine this happening by any other means than design by some intelligence. This could be a god but is more likely to be some alien intelligence which we can neither describe nor imagine since it is beyond our comprehension because it is able to design dinosaurs.

All governments are aware of the existence of these aliens and deliberately promote the flawed Theory of Evolution in order to keep their citizens from discovering the truth. This reinforces the fact that dinosaurs were designed. If it wasn't true then surely someone would have been able to disprove it by now.

Jurassic Park

The idea of a Jurassic Park has been presented as fiction in several films. What better way to hide the truth than to produce films about dinosaurs being bred in some sort of theme park? If anyone accidentally stumbles across the truth (as I have) then it can be laughed off as some nutter taking some fantasy literally. I have no doubt that such arguments will be used against me.

Since the Apollo Moon landings were faked (they must be because so many people have tried to disprove it), we have to ask: "Why?". The only logical explanation is that NASA was afraid of the dinosaurs which live there. These dinosaurs must have escaped from Jurassic Park. In is therefore inescapable that Jurassic Park must be on the Moon.

Planet X & Comets

The aliens who designed and created the dinosaurs must have come from somewhere and the only logical place is the hidden Planet X which has been consistently asserted by many respected commentators and has been consistently, but inconclusively, denied by the scientific establishment. It follows that comets must be the spacecraft by which these aliens transported their creations from Planet X to the Moon. The staggering lack of serious and comprehensive comment on this issue (and the lack of published evidence to the contrary) only reinforces these observations.

We can only speculate (but such speculation may yet prove correct) that the asteroids are remnants of a planet or moon these aliens previously seeded with dinosaurs. These dinosaurs proceeded to develop weapons capable of destroying the planet (or moon) and promptly used them, possibly as a result of an invasion by Scientologists from Venus.


Many people will find these discoveries uncomfortable, others may find them simply preposterous. But, I ask, where is the evidence to the contrary? I am sure those in the pay of the hidden cartel of Masons, Capitalists, Zionists and Marxists which run this planet will concoct some sort defence but that will not stop the truth getting out.

Is this better?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Posted @ 01:15What the world needs now

It seems to me that any sentence beginning with the words "it seems to me" is almost certainly going to express some unreasoned bigotry (this assumes there is such a thing as reasoned bigotry). All I really want for the world is for people to stop saying (in that cute, self-effacing, tiny little voice) "all I really want for the world". The trouble with politicians is that they are just like the rest of us and complain about the trouble with politicians. It's just common sense that any statement starting with "it's just common sense" almost certainly doesn't possess either of those qualities. Which brings me, neatly, to the subject of pavements (or, as they are known everywhere else in the world except the USA, pavements).

Pavements have for too long gone unrecognised in our society, forced to the borders of social recognition, deemed only fit for pedestrians. Downtrodden and ignored they are the true underclass of our nation.

Sorry about this. I'll try and produce something better tomorrow.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Posted @ 22:00While we're on the subject...

I have a predilection for ellipsis... Long may it continue, unspoken...

Tom Cruise & Mel Gibson

There is so little to say on this subject that this paragraph is too large to contain it. If there was ever a topic for the shortest essay in Contemporary Media Studies, it would be: "Examine the significance of the contributions that Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson have made to western civilisation" (10 words) (1 mark) [candidates may use wax crayons].

I think you'll find that this site says it all.

In defence of swearing

Too bloody obvious to bore you with.

Weird visitor reason

Some of you may have noticed the Bravenet visitor statistics link for this site. This gives me details of the people who visit me here, where they're from, how long they stay, how they managed to find me, etc. The following excerpt is rather weird:

Time of Visit     Nov 9 2006 9:33:38 pm
Last Page View    Nov 9 2006 9:33:38 pm
Visit Length      0 seconds
Page Views        1
Referring URL
Search Engine
Search Words      still photographs of nude females

I've looked all over this blog for any photographs of nude females and can't find any, even still ones. If you can find them, please let me know.

All I'll tell you about the requester is that they are based in the UK and use British Telecom as their ISP.

Why poker is boring

Do you really need a list of reasons? The only things more boring than poker itself are poker players, golf and golfers. I'm getting bored just writing about it...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Posted @ 23:00The Emperor's New Clothes

LONDON; 2 NOV 2006; 23:00

The team behind The Office, Extras and The Podfather (Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant & Karl Pilkington) have announced the details of their latest, world shattering project. Provisionally titled The Emperor's New Clothes, the project will consist of a 52-week BBC1 prime-time TV sitcom, a quadruple DVD, 92-hours of podcasting and regular guest appearances on Jonathan Ross's various radio and TV programmes for the next ten years. It is due for release in January 2007 after a lengthy four-day writing and production marathon.

Announcing the project, Ricky Gervais said: "After the success of The Office, I resolved only to undertake projects for which I had a true passion which I thought stretched the boundaries of comedy and satisfied my desire for fame and money. This project achieves two of these three objectives: sometimes one just has to accept that money and fame are a natural consequence of conning people that ridiculing the unfortunate, the sad and the clinically depressed is an acceptable form of humour. The Americans are working on a method of transplanting talent; if my career continues as it has begun, I should easily be able to afford the operation when it becomes available".

Set in today's London amongst the ordinary, day-to-day people who work in the television industry, the story revolves around three young men — Rick, Steve and K — who imagine they are the funniest comedians ever to grace this planet but who are, in fact, not funny at all. Their wacky attempts to produce humour from social misfits results in hours and hours of entertainment teeming with absolutely no laughs at all.

The first episode will feature Jonathan Ross as a TV chat-show host who imagines that Rick is a zany, funny guest but who, in reality, is a boorish lout who is less interesting than counting your own toes. Cameo appearances from Hollywood 'A'-list stars, playing themselves, are expected to make the episode the first recorded certain cure for insomnia.

In related news, the BBC have announced that the first two series of The Office are to be rebroadcast over the coming Christmas period (and all future Christmas periods) with the Christmas Special being the only thing shown on Christmas Day (with the exception of a fifteen minute break for the Queen's Speech). A BBC spokesperson said: "Basically, we don't like our viewers".