Let there be no light

I am overawed by the predictive power of Leviticus, if I’m right in thinking that that’s the book that set the rules for orthodox jews.

As far as I can make out, from this BBC story, (Light sensors cause religious row) orthodox jews aren’t allowed to see by electric light on holy days.

A couple have taken legal action after claiming motion sensors installed at their holiday flat in Dorset breached their rights as Orthodox Jews.
Gordon and Dena Coleman said they cannot leave or enter their Bournemouth flat on the Sabbath because the hallway sensors automatically switch on lights.
The couple’s religious code bans lights and other electrical equipment being switched on during Jewish holidays.

I can’t understand the problem, here. If the hallway sensors detect that it’s dark – the outside world will have street lighting, surely.

So the litigious couple can’t go in the street anyway, as far as I can see. Because then they would be in non-kosher electric light anyway….

Unless street-lighting doesn’t count because those lights are already on when the couple leave their home. In which case, I suggest that they trick the sensors and just switch the lights on permanently in advance of any jewish holiday… Lateral thinking, hey?.

Did Leviticus ban all electric light? Or just proscribe electric light switches and motion sensors but say some lights were acceptably kosher?

As I said at the beginning – this rulebook seems so amazingly farsighted. There must have been real prophets at work, if they foresaw electric lighting a few thousand years ago. Is there anything in there about when we get the jetpacks?

Palin – Joke or legitimate candidate?

Previously on the WhyDontYou Blog (cue “24” theme tune), I made a tongue in cheek reference to Palin being a Republican party “joke candidate”. At the time, I didn’t really think it was true, I was just mocking her apparent difficulty at doing anything you would expect a potential vice-President to do.

However, reading through the Times Online today, I have to re-assess my opinion. Do people actually intend to vote for this person? Seriously, now? The joke has gone on for long enough. Please come clean.

With monumental understatement, the Times Online headlines “Sarah Palin struggles in unwelcome spotlight on eve of TV showdown.” This begins as if it is an everyday type news item with this almost bombshell:

John McCain’s campaign is putting pressure on the organisers of the vice-presidential debate tomorrow night to go easy on Sarah Palin amid growing alarm that faltering performances in recent days have made her an object of public ridicule.

Ok, on its own its quite funny. The Republican campaign managers are worried Palin is an embarrassment. Can you blame them? Amazingly, it gets worse:

Nancy Pfotenhauer, a senior campaign strategist for Mr McCain, has asked for fewer questions than might be expected on foreign policy in the debate. Pointing out that Mr Biden – chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations – would have an advantage on such issues, she said that the clash should at least be evenly balanced with domestic concerns. “The moderators will have some questions to answer themselves if they do go so heavy [on] foreign policy.”

Take a minute to read that. The Republican candidate for Vice-President, someone who would be expected to lead America in the event the President couldn’t, needed a campaign strategist to beg for special treatment in a debate.

Seriously? Is this really true? By Thor it is shocking.

Equally strange, the campaign strategist fully admits the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate has an advantage with regards to foreign policy. They fully admit the Democrat knows more about foreign policy. How in Asgard’s name can Palin be a serious candidate? I really love the (not-so-)veiled threat at the end.

Surely the idea of a Vice-President who has no idea about foreign policy, even if they are somewhat up to speed on domestic issues, is madness? No matter how isolationist you want to be, you still need to have a foreign policy!

Ironically, she isn’t that hot on domestic issues either:

CBS is said to be planning to broadcast further segments of the interview in which she was apparently unable to name any Supreme Court judgments other than the Roe vs Wade ruling on abortion. An aide said that there was no fumbling on this question, merely silence.

Stop it. You’re killing me. This so has to be a joke.

Its interesting that the only judgement she knows about it is about abortion. Does this show she has spent her entire political career campaigning on a certain issue? Has she used her “faith” to get where she is? I would call her a one-trick pony, but I doubt she can manage that one trick.

Even the attempts to defend her are funny:

Mitt Romney, who narrowly missed becoming the vice-presidential nominee, is among those who think Mrs Palin has been overly schooled – losing spontaneity and confidence as a result. “I think they’d be a lot wiser to let Sarah Palin be Sarah Palin,” he said. Advisers said that many people would be appalled at the sneering towards her, and opponents patronised Mrs Palin at their peril. “She continues to be a huge asset who speaks directly to the middle American voter that the media so often ignore,” one source said.

I think being overly-schooled is the least of Sarah Palin’s problems. How, by Odin’s beard a potential Vice-President could be less educated is beyond me.

This leads me to a question for “middle America”: Are you really so stupid that this woman appeals to you? Do you base your votes, not on policies or ability, but by someone’s ability to “speak directly to you“? Aren’t you ashamed that the Republicans think you are this stupid that Palin speaks directly to you? (If you aren’t, you should be…)

There is an excellent quote from Palin towards the end of the article:

[Referring to the debate with Biden] She emphasised how long he [Biden] had been a Washington insider, saying: “I’ve been hearing about his Senate speeches since I was in, like, second grade.”

This is an attempt at an insult, when McCain is her running mate….

Well, it seems obvious to me now that McCain / Palin are a stand up comedy act that has been a bit too subtle for people to realise. The Republicans have realised they have zero chance of winning the election so have presented two fall-guy candidates, who will take the heat of their next candidate (and absolve them from having to pick either a woman or an old age pensioner next time). Sadly, though, this all says Palin was the best female they could find. Shame on you. If I was a woman, I’d be insulted that they thought she would appeal to my “demographic.”

No post can reference Times Online without looking at the comments. This is already long, so I will keep it short.

“Payne” from Honolulu seems to have trouble getting their words out:

Commentator’s especially not so appealing women with a chip on their shoulders are so jealous of Sarah Palin they are ready to stab her in the eye every chance they get.. Tne news matron Couric was oosing with jealousy. Hopefully, the Moose hunting gun is loaded and ready for Washington.

I really have no idea what this is supposed to say, but I am sure the last sentence could be construed as a criminal threat…

“Scot Benowitz” from Rye, New York has this to say:

In Nov. 1988 we elected Bush/ Quayle here-
Anybody remember such brilliant Quayle statements as “It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”
Republican voters don’t look for knowledge of the world or eloquence in a VP candidate

Sadly, very true. It seems the Republicans look for retardation, ignorance and stupidity in a VP candidate. They dont aim much higher for the Presidential candidate either.

Come the elections, we will see the truth of the statement that in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve. Truly, if a majority of Americans are willing to vote for McCain/Palin, you deserve them.


Interestingly, today I received an email from some one called “researcher” who appears to have taken offence at a post Heather made last month titled “Shoot the messengers.”

Oddly, the total message included read:

Check your information first before you slate companies – re Parentkind and The Parent Organisation

Now, all I can think of is that “researcher” is someone with a vested interest in these organisations, but I can confirm that Heather did indeed check her information re those organisations, so I am left all confused as to the point Researcher was trying to make.

Researcher – if you are reading this, please feel free to explain further.

[Edited: 28 december 2008: Obviously “Researcher” doesn’t read the blog and didn’t feel the need to explain any further….]

Bodiam Castle? Google Is Your Friend…

I have been looking through the website logs to see just what it is that drives people to this site and, while lacking in raw comedy value (unlike some), it has been interesting.

Running a combination of Firestats, Feedburner and Google Analytics it seems this blog is getting around 400 visits a day. From these around 80% are new (which shows just what a non-loyal readership we hold…) and of those around 70% come here from a search engine – nearly all from Google. For the numbers-fans, this translates to about 200 hits a day from Google searches. Given the insanely varied nature of topics here, you would be excused for thinking this was reflected in the search stats. Not so.

Of the top ten search terms used to come here, seven are image searches, and this accounts for about 90 of the incoming hits. Even stranger, of these over a third are all searching for images of Bodiam Castle.

Now, Bodiam Castle is a gorgeous, fourteenth century fairytale castle in East Sussex, run by the National Trust, so I can understand why people are interested in it. In fact, I understand this well enough to have uploaded another photo!

Bodiam CastleIf you have come here searching for Bodiam Castle, I hope you like this, and you can even see more on Flickr. It has been a long time since I have been to Bodiam so please, forgive me for the photos being out of date now. If you have links to other pictures of this gorgeous castle, please let me know and I will be more than happy to link to them from here.

Back onto the search topic, there is the determination issue to consider now. Will my posting of a new Bodiam article increase the amount of hits I get for this? Are people massively disappointed when the Mighty Google sends them here rather than elsewhere? Why dont people use Yahoo to search for Bodiam?

The other common terms people use for an “images search” are:

  • Schwarzenegger
  • Nice Art
  • Fine Houses
  • Holy Wafer
  • Jesus Toast (around 5 people a day come here using that search term… MADNESS)
  • Future Castles

Now, some make more sense than others, but I can only guess at the disappointment people must feel when their searches lead them here.For completeness, the most common search terms that bring people to this site are:

  • HDR How To (use Photomatix)
  • Cool Viking Names (well all of them)
  • Bad Journalist (again, all of them)
  • Firefox Memory Hog (it is)
  • Pipex Download Speeds (almost non-existent)
  • McCanns Blog (wrong place, I didn’t even know they had one)

One last point, a bit of an oddity is a search term Feedburner has identified leading some poor unfortunate here: “blog: I cannot read, feel distracted” – I have no idea what this blog has to offer this poor person.

Wow, Christians really are weird…

As a result of growing up with an entirely secular background, in (at the time anyway) the very secular United Kingdom, there is a large part of me which refuses to accept that people like the posters on Teens4Christ really exist. This part of me is convinced they are just trolls, or kids who are living out a fantasy life which is a sanitised version of Dungeons and Dragons or the like.

By chance, following a link on FSTDT, I came across a thread which purports to be a poll asking atheists what they would do if they were possessed by demons. Seriously. The choices given were basically exorcism & convert to Christianity, exorcism but don’t convert, no exorcism and become friends with the demon/devil and no exorcism but don’t become friends. The choices, if honestly presented, give a scary insight into the mind of the “teen” who made this post. Bring back D&D, that’s all I can say…

To highlight my point about the sheer off-the-wall nutjobbery, this is what the conversation degenerated to: First a post by Esther:

oh my goodness I just heard on the news that a man was caught choking a three year-old girl and I guess they were doing an exerocism on her. thats so awful! I know demons are real but whenever someone says they see an angel or demon I always think there crazy. angels appeared to people all the time in the olden days in the bible so I shouldnt think that but would you guys believe if you heard someone on the news who said an angel talked to them?

And then Follower (who initiated the thread) replies with:

That’s what’s tough about Demon possessions. You have to make sure the person doesn’t have a mental condition first. Otherwise, Holy water and chanting won’t help.

Mentalists. I can only assume this is a debate between pre-teens in the manner of how secular kids will discuss if Ninjas can fight Batman. (Reassuringly, later on Follower states he is not yet of college age, hopefully some education will eventually rub off on him.)

Sadly, there is one poster, rch10007 apparently adult and mature enough to be an admin there, who seems to demonstrate that there is little chance this “younglings” will change with age. [tags]Logical Fallacy, Logic, Philosophy, Society, Culture, Atheism, Christianity, Belief, God, Anti-Atheist, Exorcism, Demons, D&D, Role Playing Games, Dungeons and Dragons, Fantasy, Ninjas, Madness, Woo, Nonsense, Weird, Possession, Catholic, Hatstand[/tags]

Wow – Crazy Christian Woman

In case you were in any doubt about how religion can breed some major league nutcases, then you need to see:

Crazy Christian Fat Woman

Amazing. I love the way she starts off really sad and shocked, then her righteous anger comes to the surface and she becomes a “Christian Warrior.” She is absolutely insane.

I feel sorry for her family more than anything else.

[tags]Religion, Society, Culture, Nutcases, Religious Lunatic, God Delusion, Belief, Catholic, Anti-Atheist, Weird, Woo, Christian[/tags]