Sunday, 3 June, 2012, 09:44 AM - ClemmiesThe website has been given a new coat of finest NHS-green paint. This can mean only one thing.
Yes, I am honoured and deeply privileged, that Her Majesty The Queen has graciously consented to present this month's Clemmies. I would ask you all to now stand and join in a rousing chorus of our national anthem.
Gawd save or graaaaacious Queen,
Long live our nooooble Queen
Gawd save the Queen...
We are delighted that on this, the 60th anniversary of One's coronation on 2nd June 1953, that We should present the ancient and noble Order of the Clemmie.
We are impressed that so many of One's subjects have displayed such sterling efforts. Rev Dr Dr Joel Edwards, a descendent from one of Our sunnier dominions, gave some wise words on the nature of One's invisible magic bits. He gave some less wise words about democracy being a gift from the Invisible Magic Friend, of whom We are the representative in England. We were not amused at his dismissive tone towards absolute monarchs and he will certainly not be receiving the Order of the Clemmie from Us.
A certain Canon David Winter remarked on the inclement weather and that this was due in part to One's heir presenting the weather forecast. Disparaging remarks about One's heir, whatever One might think about him, excludes One from the Order of the Clemmie.
Rev Canon Angela Tilby, of One's Cathedral in Oxford, spoke at length on her fascination with death. One considers this to be a somewhat indelicate subject, given One's age, and One would prefer to move quickly on.
Rev Lucy Winkett, of Our Church in Piccadily, which is very handy for Fortnum and Mason, a store that has previously enjoyed the patronage of royal warrants, pointed out how very relevant Our Lord's lift oaf into space was.
Another of One's subjects, Akhandadhi Das, who doesn't appear to be part of the church of which One is head, advised immediate war with Syria. This confirms the opinion of One's former Prime Minister and Middle Eastern Peace Envoy. Mr Blair has since renounced the one true Church of England and has reverted to popery, so One does not feel inclined to look kindly upon this particular subject's advice.
My husband and I were most amused by Lord Sacks' contributions. Who would have known that the inventor of the TV remote control was responsible for so many of the modern ills in our society. I personally have never seen the point of such devices. Surely, One simply gets One's butlers to change the channel?
Informative as this was, We feel that it is his fawning sycophancy at which he most excels. One is used to grovelling flattery in One's role as monarch of so many realms, but Baron Aldgate's abject servility was most entertaining. Lord Sacks' latter contribution may not have been in May, but this is the jubilee award and, as the date of Our coronation suggests, calendars are for subjects, not for princes.
Therefore now I, Elizabeth, by the Grace of the Invisible Magic Friend, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, do now most solemnly by Our Prerogative Royal, confer this most ancient and honourable jubilee Order of the Clemmie upon Lord Sacks, Baron Aldgate.
[Polite applause. Please be upstanding for another rousing chorus of our national anthem. Gawd save our graaaacious queen,...]
Portraits are really good things.
President Bush has one.
Queen Elizabeth has lots. Has anyone mentioned that it's her diamond jubilee? No? Good job I was here then. It's her diamond jubilee.
There are photographs and digital photographs too.
There's the Charles Levene portrait or possibly the Chris Levine one. It's really good.
The famous Scottish poet, Alexander Smith, who I'm sure needs no introduction, said something about portraits.
Portraits are, of course, like everything else, religious and spiritual objects, especially the ones that are about religious and spiritual things.
Leonardo Da Vinci painted a religious and spiritual portrait that was very religious and spiritual. It's really good. A famous art historian agrees with me, so I must be right.
Saint Paul mentioned faces once. Portraits are about faces.
Friday, 1 June, 2012, 08:14 AMRating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)
Hmmmm, The Queen!
I don't know if you've noticed, but the Hmmm The Queen is about to celebrate her diamond jubilee. Yes Hmmm The Queen has spent 60 glorious years sitting on the throne. That's despite having her annus horribilis after only 40 years on the throne.
We Jews love Hmmm The Queen, especially those of us who get made Lords. It's thanks to Hmmm The Queen that Britain is a tolerant, fair, just, peaceful, British nation. You only have to look at nations that don't have a hereditary monarch descended from the Hanoverian dynasty to realise just how lucky we are.
Lords from many other faiths think so too, so I must be right.
She makes all of us better people by wearing lots of really impressive twinkly baubles. Were it not for Hmmm the Queen, thousands of places around the country would never have had that new coat of paint. Without Hmmm The Queen, it is no exaggeration to suggest that we would, literally, eat each other alive.
Where there is true greatness, there you will find true humility. That is certainly true of Hmmm The Queen. She's almost as humble as I am.
Gawd bless yer Majesty as this 'umble subject baron wipes tears of ardent, heartfelt loyalty and affection from his eyes.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image has found disturbing evidence that many people are not happy with their bodies. Some eat too much, others want to develop the muscle often seen in magazines.
The solution to all this unhappiness is to say grace before meals. A good one is "Bless us, Invisible Magic Friend, and your gifts."
This grace asks the Invisible Magic Friend to bless us and to bless his gifts. It is a double blessing, in that both we and his gifts are being asked to be blessed. It is, if you like, requesting the Invisible Magic Friend to bless the food that he has given us and to bless us as well. In other words he, the Invisible Magic Friend, who has decided that we may have some food, should bless the food, and us, so that we may not starve as others do.
Yes, you may have worked hard to earn the food. Yes, others may have worked hard to produce it and bring it to your table. Yes, you may live in a society at peace, that respects the rule of law and allows a stable infrastructure that can produce and transport food safely. All of this is thanks to the Invisible Magic Friend, who for some reason has decided that other parts of the world will not be so fortunate.
When some people constantly diet and others eat too much, something is wrong. There is something not right. Whatever it is that is wrong, something should be done about it, and that something, whatever it is to fix whatever is wrong, should be done by somebody.
Christ, who was the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend until his lift off into space, said we should ask for our daily bread. Otherwise the Invisible Magic Friend might decide that we're one of the ones who won't get our daily bread. The Invisible Magic Friend is just like that.
He also said that we do not live by bread alone. This means the following.
"Though the needs of our physical natures must be satisfied, even daily bread will be a blessing to us and to others, only as we govern and order our appetites and desires, by an idea of ourselves as something more than merely well nourished and beautiful bodies."
Olive oil prices are falling, bringing further gloom to Mediterranean countries.
Olive oil is important because it is packed full of the Holy Spirit (the particularly invisible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend). This explains the need for the designation "extra virgin", in case the first one didn't work.
Pound for pound, there's more Holy Spirit in olive oil than in any other fatty compound. That's why we don't anoint people with lard, for example. Olive oil is incredibly flexible. You can anoint babies with it, monarchs with it, sick people with it, dying people with it. On a feast like Pentecost - did I mention that last Sunday was Pentecost? The great Christian feast of Pentecost? Where the disciples got filled with the spirit and started jabbering incoherently? Well it was. Anyway, on the feast of Pentecost, you can anoint everyone, just for the fun of it!
So pop on down to your local supermarket and buy as much of that lovely olive oil as you can get your hands on. It's great for salad dressing, and just think of all the fun your can have anointing people with it.
I was deeply moved by the man who died saving a child at the beach. That's why we should invade Syria, and by "we" I do of course mean "someone else".
One of the Hindu Big Books of Magic Stuff, of which we have many, says that being brave is a good thing. Being brave is one of the very best ways to worship the Invisible Magic Friend, which is why it is such a good thing.
As the situation in Syria gets worse, we must be brave and send some of our young people in to put a stop to it. At the very least, we could supply lots of heavy artillery and drop a few thousand bombs, it's the only way to prevent more people being killed.
We must be mindful of the law of unintended consequences and start a new war in the Middle East - it's the Hindu way. Are we to hold back from war simply because we're afraid of igniting a regional conflagration?
Don't be cowardly and weak. In memory of the brave young man who saved a child, we need to invade Syria now.
War with Syria - you know it makes sense.
The illegal market in human organs is booming. The trouble with putting a price on human organs, or human beings, is that we begin to see them as a commodity, rather than as individuals.
Jesus always treated people as individuals, which is why you should too. If Jesus hadn't treated everyone as individuals, then it's quite possible that a modern philosopher might have accidentally rediscovered the fact that we should treat everyone as individuals. However, that would just be a philosopher, not the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, so there'd be no real reason to pay any attention.
Refugees and young unemployed people are individuals too.
For those who need a reminder: the twins paradox is a scenario in special relativity. To understand the paradox you only need to know one thing: moving clocks run slower than stationary clocks.
You have two twins: A and B. A remains on Earth. B boards a spaceship and whizzes off to a distant star and then returns. A sees the clock on B's spaceship running slow, so B will be younger than A when B returns. However, everything is relative. From B's point of view it is A that has been moving and so it is A's clock that runs slower. So A should be younger on B's return - an apparent contradiction.
Some texts are content to point out that there is a clear asymmetry in the twins' behaviour. B gets accelerated and decelerated several times, whereas A does not and therefore the "paradox" is a non-starter. Others describe solutions to the paradox that ignore the accelerations and decelerations, which is a shame, because a lot of the interesting physics takes place during the accelerations and decelerations.
I'm going to explore an approximate approach, where the changes in velocity happen very quickly, but not instantaneously.
The diagram above is a space-time diagram. It shows the position in space and time for twin A and twin B. Twin B moves off to the right towards the star and also travels upwards through time. Twin A stays still, but also moves upwards through time. Twin B reaches the star and then returns home to meet A back on earth again.
Saturday, 26 May, 2012, 09:25 AM - Courage, hope, perseverance etc., Invisible magic stuff, Sport, MarshallRating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)
There are lots of amazing people. There are amazingly brave people, amazingly creative people, people with amazingly endurance, amazing talent, amazing amazingness.
There's Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese human rights activist. He's amazingly brave.
Then there's Jessica Ennis, the sportswoman who's amazingly sporty.
Wes Anderson's amazing too. He's an amazing director.
There's just so many amazing people being amazing at stuff. It's just amazing.
Which brings me neatly onto this weekend. There's a big Christian festival coming up. Happy Pentecost everyone! Shortly after the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend went up into space on a cloud, the particularly invisible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend came down as tongues of fire and the apostles were filled with the spirit. The more filled with the spirit they became, the more they started to talk funny. In the end, they were so full of the spirit that some people mistakenly thought they were drunk. But they weren't drunk, they were just very full of the spirit.
And in conclusion, this is why people are inspired to do amazing things.
There's a big Jewish festival coming up. Happy Shavuot everyone!
Shavuot celebrates the Invisible Magic Friend revealing himself on the top of Mount Sinai. He felt he could reveal himself to Moses because he knew him pretty well by now and no longer felt any sense of embarrassment at revealing himself.
The Invisible Magic Friend formed a contract with the Jewish people, where he told them what to do and they did it. "Go create a new society," he said. "A society of peace, justice, liberty, compassion, mercy, generosity and many, many other fine words. Cancel your debts every seven years, or possibly every fifty depending on what sort of mood I'm in. Create a society with thousands of obscure, often cruel and unnecessary regulations, with harsh punishments for non compliance, up to and including being stoned to death. Start creating this society of peace, justice, liberty, compassion, mercy and generosity by exterminating all the people who currently live there."
Thus did the Jews discover that they were on their own and they would have to build a society of of peace, justice, liberty, compassion, mercy and generosity, all by themselves without any help from the Invisible Magic Friend. Although he did pop in from time to time to see how the cruel and unnecessary regulations were being followed.
Now to some current news. Eugene Polly, the inventor of the TV remote control has died. You all seem to think that you can change the world using your TV remote control. Well I'm sorry to break the news to you, but you can't. In order to change the world you need to get off your lazy, fat behinds and actually do things. You have to do what the Jews did when they created a society of peace, justice, liberty, compassion, mercy, and generosity. The Big Book of Magic Stuff would undoubtedly have had some interesting punishment for users of TV remote controls, if only they had been invented back then.