Alistair in Wonderland 
Thursday, 4 June, 2009, 09:26 AM
The Alistair in question being Alistair Darling, the current Chancellor of the Exchequer. Sorry if this has nothing to do with TFTD, but can anyone out there explain the Private Finance Initiative to me? This is the scheme whereby the private sector build public buildings and then rents them back to us at a profit. I've always thought this was a bit of dodgy government book keeping, but current developments seem to make the story even stranger.

It turns out that our state owned banks are no longer lending money to private companies, so the private companies are turning to the government, i.e. us, for finance. This means that.

- We lend money to private companies.
- They use that money to build schools and hospitals.
- They then rent the buildings, that we paid for, back to us.
- They get 10 times the amount of money in profit that we originally lent them.

Does this strike anyone else as just a bit odd? If the treasury can loan the money to build the hospitals, then why doesn't the treasury just give the money straight to the NHS to build its own hospitals? If I were a cynic, which I'm not, I might be inclined to believe that the government thinks the public finances are up the spout anyway, so let's just make things as difficult as possible for the next administration while we all have a good laugh watching them trying to sort it out.
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Rev Dr Dr David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's College Durham 
Thursday, 4 June, 2009, 08:22 AM
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

It's 20 years since an anonymous young Chinese man stood up to a line of
government tanks. The world is full of brave people like this. We all sneer at and deride such courage. "There goes that really stupid person standing up to a line of tanks", we all say. We all like to laugh at people who stand up to evil at great personal risk. And by "we", I do of course mean "you".

People like you just lounge around all day watching reality TV shows, amusing yourselves to death, stuffing your face with pizza drowned down with lager, poking fun at brave, Christian people. The early church, which didn't lounge around watching reality TV shows all day, recognised the importance of brave, courageous people and called them idiots.

As a Rev. Dr. Dr., let me just assure you that the existence of brave idiots proves that the Invisible Magic Friend exists, just as Jesus dying on the cross proves that He was in fact the Invisible Magic Friend in disguise. This may all sound completely stupid, but it's stupid people, like Tank Man, who believe in Jesus and it's stupid people, like Tank Man, who change the world. It takes the bravery of people like Tank Man to believe something as stupid as Christianity, which makes us Christians as brave and noble and fine and proudly stupid as Tank Man.

I'm sure that Tank Man must have been a Christian, or if he wasn't then he certainly would be if he had the chance, because only Christians have values that aren't utterly selfish. We Christians, unlike you lot, have faith in brave idiots like Tank Man.

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No more Allah 
Wednesday, 3 June, 2009, 10:03 AM
In a move that will be a crushing blow to the Catholic Church, the High Court in Malaysia has upheld a ban on Catholics calling God, Allah. "We're extremely disappointed by this decision," said Archbishop Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam, bishop of Kuala Lumpur. Catholics have traditionally called God, Allah, for centuries in Malaysia, but the "Control and Restriction of the Propagation of non-Islamic Religious Enactment Act (1988)" makes this an offence.

A leading Islamic scholar explained. "Allah is, of course, just the Arabic word for God, and there is only one God, the same God that is worshipped by Christians and Jews, but if Catholics go around calling their God, which is the same as our God, God, then it will cause no end of confusion. They've got to find a different name for their God, which is the same as our God, and stop calling Him God. Some muslims have already started praying in the direction of Rome, saying that if it's all the same God why can't they pray to Him in any direction? With that kind of confused thinking people could end up praying in all sorts of wrong directions. It'd be an absolute disaster."

I asked Archbishop Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam what they were going to call their God, who is the only God and the same God as the Muslim God, in the meantime. "How about Murphy?" the archbishop replied, "Murphy's a nice name."
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Akhandadhi Vas, a Vaishnav Hindu teacher and theologian  
Wednesday, 3 June, 2009, 09:02 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Welcome to today's edition of "Let's speak Vaishnav Hindu Theology", where I introduce you to a whole new range of words for things you already know, but then explain to you that you didn't really know them all along because you're not spiritual enough and didn't realise that the exotic, eastern theological concepts they encapsulate are suffused with hidden meaning and mystic mysticalness.

Now that you know all about Dharma and sat, as well as Atman, we move on to the advanced concept of "vanilla custard", or "patience". You probably think you know what "patience" is, but you don't, because you're not spiritual enough. From my very advanced state of spiritualness I will endeavour to explain "patience", or "vanilla custard" to you. "Patience", or "vanilla custard" as it is more correctly called, means to keep trying when the odds are against you, a bit like "persistence", but with a different spelling. There - now you know what "patience", or "vanilla custard" as it is more correctly called, is all about.

"Patience", or "vanilla custard" as it is more correctly called, is a good thing. The 16th century mystic Hindu philosopher Rupa Goswami, whom you've probably never heard of (what with you not being as advanced in spiritualness as I am), agrees with me, therefore I must be right. His famous equation:

spiritual progress = enthusiasm + determination + patience

works for every known situation. "Enthusiasm", or "sponge base" as it is more correctly called by we advanced spiritual people, means being really keen. "Determination", or "raspberry jelly" as it is more correctly called by we advanced spiritual people, means still being really keen, but is much more profound and mystical when spelt this way.

These three together make spiritual progress, which is no trifle. They are just part of the mystical secrets of Vaishnav Hinduism that has made it what it is today. If only President Obama were a Hindu he would know this. Then he could spread this enlightened spirituality to the Middle East, because as we all know, what the Middle East really, really needs is another religion.

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Reverend Lucy Winkett, Canon Precentor of St Paul's Cathedral  
Tuesday, 2 June, 2009, 08:07 AM
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Freedom of Information is a good thing, except when it threatens confidentiality. Information about certain late term abortions is a case in point. Women who have late abortions and their doctors should not feel threatened.

People just aren't equipped to deal with information. If you tell them things then they'll just get angry and turn into a rampaging mob that goes around burning and looting and murdering and going completely mad. The Invisible Magic Friend says you should use information wisely and not go around burning and looting and murdering and going completely mad.

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Clifford Longley, a distinguished person who talks a lot about religion 
Monday, 1 June, 2009, 08:27 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

MPs don't know how to recover the great esteem that they once had. In a creek they are up, a paddle without. What can they do? It's obvious: become Catholics and go to Confession. You should all try it, you'll love it. You'll be there, all alone in the dark with a Catholic priest, telling him all your most intimate and private thoughts. What could be more natural and healthy? He will then tell you how you can right the terrible wrongs you have done by saying three Hail Mary's and a Glory Be.

This scientifically proven technique will cleanse your soul and leave the invisible magic bit of yourself whiter than white and daisy fresh. The process is full of complex technical terms which can only be properly understood by a fully trained theologian, but a basic understanding is possible for ordinary people like you. A leading theologian explains.

"We took two souls, one washed in scientifically tested and verified Catholic Confession and one in another leading brand of admission of guilt. As you can see, or you would see if it weren't magic and invisible, the soul washed in Catholic Confession is 100% absolved of all sin, while the other soul isn't."

So if you've been having impure thoughts lately, and unluckily aren't a sadistic rapist in charge of an Irish Catholic single sex school, why not try new improved, scientifically proven, Catholic Confession. No other absolution looks like it, or lasts like it.

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Canon David Winter 
Saturday, 30 May, 2009, 08:35 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Yes, the day we've all been waiting for has finally arrived. After literally weeks of anticipation, the nation will, as one, tune in to their TVs tonight to watch the exciting, and not at all predictable, final of Britain's Got Talent. This is what being British is all about: the thrill of a man one can stick a drill up his nose, the delight of a dancer who's bra lights up. If only Young Musician of the Year, or the British Mathematical Olympiad could produce people with this kind of ability.

Talent is, of course, based on the Big Book of the Invisible Magic Friend. I'd like to tell you the parable that Jesus told, of people with talents. There are so many fascinating and instructive stories from the Big Book of the Invisible Magic Friend that this one is rarely told these days. You see, the Invisible Magic Friend gave three people some talent. Two used it wisely and went on Britain's Got Talent, but one just sat at home watching the show, which was very bad of him. Makes you think, eh?

As if the thrill of tonight's final wasn't enough, tomorrow we get the feast of Pentecost, which the nation, as one, has been waiting for ever since last year's feast of Pentecost. Pentecost used to be called "Whitsun" - makes you think, eh? On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, who's one of the two invisible bits of the Invisible Magic Friend, comes and fills us up and we become full of spiritualness. Makes you think, eh?

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Reverend Roy Jenkins - Baptist Minister in Cardiff 
Thursday, 28 May, 2009, 08:19 AM
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

The boss of the Nationwide isn't happy. He says it's unfair that prudent financial organisations have to bail out the reckless. It's tough, but then losing jobs can be tougher. Especially if it makes you feel hopeless and useless, a has been, a waste of space, a worthless, pointless, degenerate, non-person. I know what you're thinking, it's all so unfair. Fortunately, it doesn't bother me that much because I'm all right. I mean we'll always need Baptist ministers - right? The thought of a world without Baptist ministers is surely too terrible to contemplate.

To the disabled, the injured, the mentally ill, the unemployed, the bereaved, I say this: life's unfair, get over it. The Invisible Magic Friend has just picked you out to have a rotten life. Tough luck, but the very fact that people try to help you in your suffering just goes to prove, with devastating and inevitable logic, the existence of an Invisible Magic Friend who loves you all. You can take comfort from Christianity, which doesn't actually solve anything or provide any answers. Christianity has never even tried to explain anything. Its 2,000 years of endless splits over finer details of abstruse theology has resulted in no conclusions whatsoever. What Christianity does have is Jesus, who suffered more than you or anyone else has ever done, and it was all your fault for sinning.

There, doesn't that make you feel better.

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New funniest quote ever 
Thursday, 28 May, 2009, 06:59 AM
I'm relegating the Most Irrelevant and Imminently Eminent Vincent Nichols' "thank goodness we Catholics can laugh at ourselves" quote to the second division. This one from the charity commission has to be much funnier.

Prof Richard Dawkins, when attempting to set up the charitable educational foundation ‘The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science’, had his forms returned to him with the suspicious question: ‘Please explain how “science” has benefited humanity’!”

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Akhandadhi Vas, a Vaishnav Hindu teacher and theologian 
Wednesday, 27 May, 2009, 08:10 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

How do you solve a problem like Korea? We've tried threats, we've tried sanctions, we've tried encouragement. There is only one possible solution left: we have to turn them all into Vaishnav Hindus. What they need is a good dose of being spiritual. When my little girl runs away we tell her about all the exciting spiritualness she's been missing, and then she never wants to run away ever again. All the military junta who run North Korea need is to grow closer to the Invisible Magic Friend, and thus become more spiritual. They're afraid to return to the Invisible Magic Friend for fear of punishment. Do not be afraid, brutal, selfish military leaders of North Korea, the Invisible Magic Friend loves you! You have no idea how much fun you're missing, being spiritual, and it just gets better and better.

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