When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead." - Benjamin Franklin


Orthodox Jews launch "kosher" search engine - "Religiously devout Jews barred by rabbis from surfing the Internet may now "Koogle" it on a new "kosher" search engine... The site, at www.koogle.co.il, omits religiously objectionable material, such as most photographs of women which Orthodox rabbis view as immodest, Altman said. Its links to Israeli news and shopping sites also filter out items most ultra-Orthodox Israelis are forbidden by rabbis to have in their homes, such a television sets... Nothing can be posted on the Jewish Sabbath, when religious law bans all types of work and business, Altman said. "If you try to buy something on the Sabbath, it gets stuck and won't let you.""

DIY Invitation: Jill & Matt - "No fancy graphics nor multi-color ensemble here. But by golly this has gotta be one of the most brilliant, creative, darling, type-a-licious, as-unique-and-personal-as-it can-get [wedding] invites I’ve ever seen."

Pixar grants girl's dying wish to see 'Up' - "From the minute Colby saw the previews to the Disney-Pixar movie Up, she was desperate to see it. Colby had been diagnosed with vascular cancer about three years ago... she would die soon and was too ill to be moved to a theater to see the film... The company flew an employee with a DVD of Up... to the Curtins’ Huntington Beach home on June 10 for a private viewing of the movie."
My favourite bit: "Colby couldn't see the screen because the pain kept her eyes closed so her mother gave her a play-by-play of the film"

Everyone Agrees: Women Are Hard to Read - "Researchers at Indiana University showed video clips from 24 different speed dates... Both men and women are able to gauge a man's interest in a woman, but are equally baffled when it comes to figuring out if a woman is interested in a man. In fact, a flip of a coin would be almost as accurate in predicting a woman's romantic interest on a date... "Being coy forces the men to spend more time interacting with the woman, because they are unsure if they have successfully courted her," Place said. "Therefore, the woman has more time to gather information about her date.""
The implications of female mate choice strike again; women can't read women: even women dont know what other women are thinking
Everyone can tell when men are interested
No one can tell when women are interested

PETA miffed at President Obama's fly "execution" - ""Believe it or not, we've actually been contacted by multiple media outlets wanting to know PETA's official response to the executive insect execution," a blog on the group's website explained. "In a nutshell, our position is this: He isn't the Buddha, he's a human being, and human beings have a long way to go before they think before they act." The group has sent Obama a device that traps a fly so it can then be released outside."
The Buddha can kill flies?

100 pupils walk out of high school in protest at short skirt ban - "Teachers have warned pupils at Upton-by-Chester High School in Cheshire that unless hem-lines became more modest, they would be forced to wear trousers instead. But scores of girls - and a few boys - refused to comply and organised an angry demonstration using social networking site Facebook."

Tadpole rain in Japan ::: Pink Tentacle - Not quite raining frogs, but...

Catholic bishops in US ban Japanese reiki - "Reiki, an alternative Japanese therapy with a growing band of followers in the west, is "unscientific" and "inappropriate" for use in Catholic institutions, according to America's bishops... the therapy "lacks scientific credibility" and could expose people to "malevolent forces"."

'Atheists 'not fully human', says Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor'

Tenga Egg - "The Tenga Egg is also a multi purpose life tool too. One use is a sleeping bag for Figma figures... They can also be used as gloves for Dollfies... Tenga Egg as an iPod case... If you have pets then you can also use them as protective shoes."

Woman cancels wedding after finding fiance was porn star

Che Guevara's grand-daughter poses semi-nude for animal rights... with just a string of carrots to preserve her dignity - "Her grandfather fought for his idea of freedom, equality and a better world. Lydia Guevara is simply fighting for attention... 'It's a homage of sorts to her late grandfather,' said a PETA spokesman. 'It very much evokes the tag line of the ad, which is "Join the vegetarian revolution".'"
More like an insult. This is worse than selling Vodka

Mr Brown is a jobless man like Yowe55 ah? How come he so old liao still do boliao things?Got family? - "I show my father the Wondergirls spoof by Mr Brown, my father tell me don't waste my time listen to Mr Brown show podcast this kind of nonsense, he say these ppl is wasting their time instead of get a proper job and feed their family. My father very strict one...he look down on people like Mr Brown and Collin Goh who waste time doing boliao things...say they already so old liao still so boliao....make funny spoof cannot feed family...cannot go against govt...."
My favourite comment: "mr brown probably earning more than your dad"
"If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years." - Bertrand Russell


Someone: you know how i feel about indentured servitude
regardless of where you are working

Me: yah coming from a scholar...

Someone: even if you took a loan.....
you'd spend less and it's liberating not to have it hanging over your head

and you can get credits from state unis
prob not the super top exclusive unis but state schs are more relaxed

Me: so why didnt you take a loan last time
who would loan 300k to a poor student? got interest rate also

Someone: you don't need 300k
with a poly diploma you can prob get 1.5-2 years credits
in a state sch which charges about 10-12k in tuition

Me: ok so basically you can get a loan for state schs lah

Someone: yeah

let's say
30k in tuition for 2 years

living expenses, fi you pick a smaller city/town, another 30k

if you get an on-campus job you can get paid about $10/hr for 20 hrs a
week of work
that is 400$/mo
~8000-10000/2 year
so if you were really careful about spending, you'd only need a 50-60k
usd loan, which is 75-80k sgd at today's exchange rates

Me: aiyah that limits your choices. people want to go to better
unis. which tend to be more ex/in more ex places

Someone: i think the kualiti of unis is something i'd be
willing to sacrifice
there are plenty of kualiti state schs also
all v respectable

people in sg are just obssessed with hyp

My Little Bird: on the other hand, males don't suffer from
sexual harrassment

Me: they can. just less
and depends how you define sexual harassment

My Little Bird: lesser then.

Me: when someone looks longingly at my car, I dont feel threatened

My Little Bird: that's if that someone doesn't have something
like a parang in his hand...

Me: a penis is a parang?
well you keep your parang in your car and I'll keep my penis in my pants
no issue there

Someone else: gawd its a pain to talk in clubs

how the hell do people catch up in clubs?
they catch up by touching each other???

Someone on 'fap fap': that's what
the noise when guys go commando

Me: no
when they service themselves

Someone: doggy style also makes that noise
the balls banging on ass noise

Me: I thought the balls bang the clit

Someone: no i don't thinkt he balls are that small
there is steric hindrance from the butt cheeks

Me: small? you mean big?

Someone: hmm
steric hindrance lah
maybe clits require quite focused attention

Someone else: LALALALA

and should i go blubbing tonite
i feel so damned lazy
mambo no kick right

Me: you very rich. go lor
I heard mambo a lot of NS guys

Someone else: EEE
ok i dun want alr

NS guys got NS smell
and they very tiko
they grind like nobody's biz

u know when i went to st james
i went to the bar to get myself a drink

this horrendous 40 year old man slid himself to me
and purred," Are you aloneeeee?"

i was mortified can
i was like "uh uh yea "
and i gulped down my drink to abt quarter full
then set it down

he was like," oh thats enough for u?? u want more??"
i was like NO THANK YOU
and sped off

worst pick up line EVER

Me: this is called
'female mate choice'

Someone else: JAJAJA

Me: any other pickup tales
aren't you glad that you're in demand

Someone else: hurr hurr
a mat grinded me and asked me 4 my number
then another hot chinese guy grinded me

i think they all sexually deprived
(seriously) i'm not hot or whatever

Me: hey at least the
chinese guy was hot

aiyah. guys are easy
(or the quality of the place you went to was lousy)
(or it was late and they were desperate)

Someone else: YES

Me: (or they suffered
from beer goggles)

Someone else: probbably
beer goggles

Someone: Do you know about this "Julie Mann"? http://twitter.com/julinehuang
check out her profile link.

Me: HAHAHAHAHA do you think it's real

Someone: It could be fake, but it'd be awesome that prostitutes are on twitter. Even got Sammyboy reviews.

Me: hee
which one on that list is she?

Someone: I suspect the first one, but who knows.

Me: yah lah
never link to post
but page

Someone: I know, but she has to be "discreet" anyway
just match face to review

again, could be fake

Me: HAHA that's how you do ah
one man's meat...

Someone: that's why I'm consulting you

Me: I dunno man

Someone: ask your friends

Me: hello she's a whore, not a social escort

Someone: I'm putting it mildly
I've got old fashioned twitter followers, have to watch my language

Me: ...
I thought old fashioned people weren't on twitter

Someone: trust me, EVERY FUCKING ONE is on twitter


Now that I mentioned "social escot" I'm getting prostitute agencies following me!

see why I used 'prostitute'? ;)

Someone: She's going to get really popular soon

We should make our own fake twitter prostitute
offer twitter-sex

For instance, if someone tweets "I'd like a BJ"
then our tweet would be "Rosy strokes @xxx shaft with such firmness and blah blah blah"

like telling erotic story, but using real twitter people

Me: then change account into some rubbish
and sell a product
maybe acai berries
"It's hard to be nostalgic when you can't remember anything." - Unknown


Some amusing signs Disgusting Chris snapped at the Signspotting exhibition in Copenhagen:

*Car plummeting off edge of precipice*

*Man in wheelchair speeding down slope into crocodile's jaws*

"Zákaz Tlumočení
Translating Prohibited"


"Ce qui était plus surprenant, par contre, c’est que les translations étaient interdites, aussi. Du coup, si vous ne comprenez ni le tchèque ni l’anglais, vous pouvez visiter, mais en profitant du paysage, avec un gars qui parle en fond dans une langue inintelligible…

What was more surprising, though, was that translations were forbidden, too. So basically, if you understand neither Czech nor English, you can visit, but enjoying the scenery, with a guy talking in the background in a language you won’t understand…"

"Resist Bacteria Hotel

[Note: Character for word, this actually translates to the same thing. It might actually translate as 'quarantine centre' or something.]

[Zoo sign] "This enclosure sponsored by 'Free the Bars Fund Inc."
"Things could always be worse; for instance, you could be ugly and work in the Post Office." - Adrienne E. Gusoff


To fund its Word of the Day e-mails, Dictionary.com has taken to product placement, giving the following example sentences for some words (the words in question are bolded):

"The mayor's hortatory speech spurred me to organize a carpool with my Prius."
"The hybrid technology in Prius is a paragon of innovative engineering."
"She started driving a Prius for its salutary effect on the environment."

In the spirit of the whole endeavor, I have come up with example sentences for almost all of the rest of the words this month:

cosset: A cosseted child, I got my wealthy uncle to buy me a Prius.
espy: In the distance, I espied a Prius speeding in my direction.
pother: After sufficient pother, I convinced the Missus to let me buy a Prius.
abstemious: Desiring that my car be as abstemious as I, I stumped out for a Prius.
mores: Keeping in mind the mores of the Bay Area, I chose to drive a Prius.
oneiric: Thinking about the message the conspicuous consumption that is my Prius sends puts me in an oneiric mood.
tergiversation: When asked about the compatibility of my promotion of corn-based biofuels and tax credits for hybrids like the Prius, the Senator engaged in tergiversation.
redivivus: Fancying herself Rachel Carson redivivus, Tori's feather in her cap was trading in her SUV for a Prius.
megrim: On a megrim, I traded in my Lexus for a Prius.
aver: I aver that if not for the tax incentives, I would never have bought a Prius.
gravid: With my gravid wallet, I went on a shopping spree and got myself a Prius.
prescience: Having a lack of prescience, I opted to go all the way and commute using a fully-electric car instead of a Prius, only to be screwed when others did not do the same.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Where all think alike, no one thinks very much." - Walter Lippmann


"The three principles of restorative justice are offender accountability, victim restoration and community involvement to heal the harm caused by crime... The goal of restorative justice was to heal the victims, for perpetrators to take responsibility for their actions and make meaningful restitution and for governments and communities to be part of the process...

Most people, I think, believe that prison or jail should be a horrible experience. People don't think of it as a deterrent so much as just deserts. 'They' hurt 'us,' therefore 'we' should hurt 'them.' For years, politicians have won elections by promising to take away cable television and weight rooms and anything seen to make prison cushy. We have a culture where jokes about prison rape are made out in the open. The prevailing wisdom is that prisoners deserve to be treated like animals; they should fear prison and suffer while they are there. Anyone who has spent time working with prisoners knows this has largely come to pass. What most people don't realize is the consequences of making prisons a living nightmare. Most of the inmates I'd worked with, particularly when I was a law intern, felt punished, but not many of them took responsibility for their crimes, or felt any remorse.

Martin Aguerro, the pedophile, the first client I had when I started in 1980, was a case in point. He complained about the squalid treatment and living conditions in jail, he felt wronged, but I never got the sense that he thought about his crimes. In fact, everything about the system of prosecution and defense is set up so that criminals get into a habit of denying their responsibility. Every step of the way between the arrest and the trial, people accused of crimes deny everything, or keep silent. It's what their defense attorneys tell them to do. After their trial, if they're convicted, many don't change their mind-set. Why should they? To truly confront what they've done requires confronting the shame and fear and the reality of their situation. Few people choose to do this, because it's difficult. After all, it's hard for noncriminals to take responsibility for doing the wrong thing, much less someone sitting in a prison cell. So criminals blame someone or something else - the cop who caught them, or their lousy upbringing - for their circumstances and spend their time growing angrier and angrier about being treated like an animal. They are usually full of rage when they are released, and less prepared to function as citizens; the predictable products of the monster factory."

--- Dreams from the Monster Factory: A Tale of Prison, Redemption, and One Woman's Fight to Restore Justice to All / Sunny Schwartz and David Boodell
"Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself." - Jane Wagner


School exams fail the office test

"Last week, I promised my daughters that whatever they do in their working lives, nothing will ever be as bad as this. It was 10.45pm and they were sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by notes on exothermic reactions and quotes from Paradise Lost. When all this is over, I assured them, what comes next will seem a doddle. GCSEs, A-levels and finals are a hell that nothing in the office will ever match.

They looked at me contemptuously and I can see why. It seems so unlikely that life’s most traumatic tests should come so early; that paid work, which is serious, should leave us so relatively untouched, whereas academic work, which should be more carefree, can scar for life.

Yet more than 25 years have passed since I sat finals and still I wake at night with my heart thudding, dreaming that I had forgotten to revise, or had had to take physics instead of philosophy. In my other standard nightmare, all my teeth have fallen out, but that dream is a walk in the park compared with that moment of existential despair when you are in the school gym and you turn over the paper to find yourself unable to answer the questions.

There is no job interview, no scary presentation, no terrifying after dinner speech, no bruising negative feedback that can do such lasting psychic damage. Nor is there any work project (unless one is a corporate lawyer or investment banker) that requires such mercilessly hard work.

I mentioned this to a friend who has a senior job in business. She said the raw effort she put into revising The Faerie Queene was a hundred times more intense than what she put into a recent pitch for a multimillion-pound contract.

It’s tempting to conclude that the exam system is wrong to inflict such pain for so little gain. It is not as if we remember the facts that we stuffed into our heads at the very last minute. On the evening of my finals, I could probably have told you about Wittgenstein’s view on the indeterminacy of translation but now all I can recall is the picture that was a duck one minute and a rabbit the next.

Yet that isn’t why it’s all a waste. Even though I’ve forgotten what I learnt, I am still proud to have once known it. This seems a less shameful state of ignorance than never having known it at all.

The real problem with the exam system is that it teaches lessons about work itself that you need to unlearn pretty smartly if you want to get ahead in business.

First, it teaches you that there is a fairly straightforward relationship between effort and result. In exams, if you work very, very hard in the evenings you are going to do an awful lot better than if you spend your evenings in the pub. In most office life, this is not true. The relationship between effort and reward is much more complicated.

Second, in an exam there is nowhere to hide. If you fail you may try to pin the blame on your teachers or the examiner, but in your heart you know there is no one else to blame but yourself. You either weren’t bright enough, or you didn’t work hard enough.

One of the beauties of office work is that there is no shortage of candidates to blame for one’s failures. Management, the market, the culture, one’s colleagues, the competitors, an IT failure; the options are endless. You can screw something up royally and get away with it indefinitely. Indeed, so long as you are quite senior you can bring the entire banking system down and still get a big bonus.

The third bad lesson from exams is that failure matters. If you flunk finals you don’t get the chance to do it again. Real life is much more forgiving. That presentation went badly? There will be another one along soon enough, which might go a bit better.

More dangerously still, the politics of exams are upside down. You work as hard as humanly possible while trying to unsettle fellow students by claiming to have done nothing at all.

With real work it is the other way round. The secret is to do as little as you can get away with, but make it seem that you are slogging your guts out.

In offices, people go home early and leave their jackets on their chairs and instruct their computers to send out work e-mails at 1am. There is no such thing as being seen to work too hard.

Finally, exams demand clarity of thought and expression and penalise waffle and bullshit. Whereas in business, alas, waffle and bullshit have become the gold standard.

There is, however, one thing that exams do teach you about work that is essential to remember in offices – that boys and girls are different. My daughters weep after exams, because they are girls. They say that they have done horribly badly, because they focus on the bit they got wrong rather than the bit they got right. Boys come swaggering out of exams declaring it to have been a piece of piss.

The difference is confidence. Last week, YouGov published a survey claiming that the average office worker acquires confidence at 37 after an average of 30,000 hours on the job. This is one of the worst statistics I have ever seen. Boys arriving in the workplace will profess themselves confident after the first hour. Most of my female contemporaries, thinking that work is an exam in which the full marks one wants are never quite forthcoming, are still searching for confidence at nearly 50."

"Never knock on Death's door: ring the bell and run away! Death really hates that!" - Matt Frewer


This is damn sad:

Asian Youth Games: North Korean football team serious in training

"The Korean boys were the first athletes to arrive here for the Games when they touched down at Changi Airport on Wednesday night... On Thursday morning, they were nowhere to be seen at the Swissotel the Stamford, the official Games Village, or at the adjacent Raffles City shopping mall."
That's because they can't be allowed to wander, in case they defect. Not that Singapore would have any qualms about rejecting their asylum claims and sending them back to North Korea to be executed.

"While the hotel came to life with the arrival of footballers from various other countries, only one person from the North Korean camp was spotted in the lobby: Team manager Cho Won Cho."
Okay, I guess he's not their minder then

heir coach, who later gave his name as Park Er Song, put the boys through their paces under the watchful eye of an Aetos auxiliary police officer."
Maybe the Aetos auxiliary police officer is the one in Kim Jong Il's employ. It all makes sense now!

We won't likely see much smiling from them when they take to the pitch against Thailand tomorrow, not until the final whistle at least."
That's because when the match ends they'll know if they'll be executed. If they win, they get a reprieve. If they lose, they can make their final arrangements. Either way, the nerve-wracking wait will be over.

At least the headline is "North Korean football team serious in training" rather than "North Korean footballers serious in training".
"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson


Interview with African Economics Expert: "For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!" - "As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid... Local farmers may as well put down their hoes right away; no one can compete with the UN's World Food Program. And because the farmers go under in the face of this pressure, Kenya would have no reserves to draw on if there actually were a famine next year. It's a simple but fatal cycle... Africa existed before you Europeans came along. And we didn't do all that poorly either... Unfortunately, the Europeans' devastating urge to do good can no longer be countered with reason... [With clothing aid] our tailors lose their livlihoods... These days, Africans only perceive themselves as victims. On the other hand, no one can really picture an African as a businessman"

Police stop and search innocent people to balance race figures, terror watchdog says - "Lord Carlile said that police were stopping white people unjustifiably so that official figures would make it look as if they were not singling out black and Asian people under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. “No police officer has admitted that to me, but I believe that is the case,” he told The Times. "

STAR WARS: Endor Holocaust - "What happens when you detonate a spherical metal honeycomb over five hundred miles wide just above the atmosphere of a habitable world? Regardless of specifics, the world won't remain habitable for long."
Even better: The Truth about the 'Endor Holocaust'

Longmire does Romance Novels - "I think a lot of us can agree that a large number of romance novel covers are pretty silly and are just asking to be ridiculed. So that's exactly what I did. I bought a few of them at the used book store and got to work on them. The artwork almost writes its own jokes."
Some I like: He was so pretty I felt like a lesbian, When Your Man's Breasts are Bigger Than Yours. Strategies for Coping with your inferior body, She thought he wanted a flower... ...He wanted hers, Okay, you're taller than me... Happy, now? Now let go of my arm... you're hurting me.

Russian girl in intensive care after restoring virginity 6 times

List of Restaurants That Do Not Serve Free Water - "for a long while i have noticed an annoying trend in many sit-down dining establishments. an increasing number of restaurants have a no-water policy: they do not serve free cold water or even tap water to diners. instead, they make us buy their bottled water. i find this highly unacceptable... i am compiling a list of greedy dining establishments that refuse to serve free water"

Brussels sprouts banned from warship - "A Royal Navy captain has banned Brussels sprouts from his warship, HMS Bulwark, because he loathes them so much."

2500-year-old bird's nest found - "The nesting site is still continually used by gyrfalcons, the world's largest species of falcon, and is the oldest raptor nest ever recorded... By carbon dating solidified stomach contents, peat moss deposits and bone and feather samples from various moulting sites, researchers have in the past shown that colonies of snow petrel have returned to the same sites for 34,000 years and adelie penguins for 44,000 years."

Tackles, props and balls as nature intended - "Rugby match in New Zealand sees teams face off in birthday suits, briefly interrupted by streaker – with all his clothes on"

Briton caught up in Iran internet wars - "Ryan Kelly, 25, developed his page reboot software to automatically refresh websites such as eBay, but today discovered it had been used by Iranian dissidents to scupper official websites... "I agree with what they are doing and will keep it up there as long as I can"... Another said: “We have been using your website for freedom and not attack. “This is the government of Iran that is attacking everyone and not us. Tell it to your ISP please."
What's sauce for the goose... I hope he supports Chinese and Russian patriots who use his program to attack the sites of governments attacking their countries, like the USA and Estonia

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


All women born are so perverse
No man need boast their love possessing.
If naught seem better, nothing's worse:
All women born are so perverse.
From Adam's wife, that proved a curse,
Though God had made her for a blessing,
All women born are so perverse
No man need boast their love possessing.

--- Robert Seymour Bridges

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments." - William H. Borah


NutshellMail - "NutshellMail is a free, web-based service developed to help you better access, manage, and monitor all your email and social networking accounts through your most commonly used inbox. NutshellMail transforms your primary email account into a universal inbox so you can retrieve messages and manage all your accounts in one place. NutshellMail was also designed to enable employees, restricted from third-party messaging accounts, to securely access personal messages at work without violating their employer's IT policies."
Translation: Use Facebook, Twitter, Myspace etc at work via email. Or from behind the Great Firewall of China.

Solo Travel as a Woman in Asia - "When I told friends I was planning an extended trip in Asia, they looked aghast rather than delighted, and immediately began lecturing me. To hear their gloom predictions you’d think that every Sri Lankan citizen was a Tamil terrorist and every Pakistani a Jack the Ripper. My own view is that there is a pernicious mythology surrounding the lone female traveler, whether it be as a hitchhiker around Britain or a traveler in Southeast Asia. Many people instantly exaggerate the perils and dwell on a single woman’s vulnerability. Often this doom-ridden response is just an excuse for their own timidity of spirit. In fact, traveling around most of Asia is far safer, and more pleasant, than traveling on the Lexington Avenue line in New York City."

Asian Poses - The Definitive Guide to Asian Poses - "Simply smiling in a photo is so boring, why not strike a pose? Asians are notorious for their quirky and cute poses and this site focuses on documenting these poses. To help you recognize various poses, visual aids will be provided courtesy of popular Korean, Japanese, and Chinese models. The site’s style was inspired by the website Stuff White People Like, which often includes witty remarks, sarcasm, and stuff that is offensive if you can’t take a joke."
Needless to say, the examples are all female. Unsurprisingly, the first post featured was... the v-sign.
He's also part of a site called Really Cute Asians which is mostly Jap gravure.

Cheeseburger in a Can Reviewed - "The bottom line: The reviewer would eat "this thing again if it weren't so expensive."... He also felt that the overall quality was similar to a McDonalds cheeseburger, which is really saying something."

Baboon mums exploit 'chaperones' - "Having a caring friend around seems to greatly benefit the females and their infants, as both are harassed less by other baboons when in the company of their male pal. But why the males choose to be platonic friends remains a mystery... Male and females of a few species of monkey, including baboons, macaques and others are known to form so-called 'friendships', where particular males and females will spend a lot of time in each other's company. These friendships are often strictly platonic, and don't seem to involve sex. But no-one knows why they occur."
There're baboon Intellectual Whores too!

Christian group sues for right to burn gay teen novel - "The offending book is Francesca Lia Block's Baby Be-Bop, a young adult novel in which a boy, struggling with his homosexuality, is beaten up by a homophobic gang. The complaint, which according to the American Library Association also demands $120,000 (£72,000) in compensatory damages for being exposed to the book in a display at West Bend Community Memorial Library, was lodged by four men from the Christian Civil Liberties Union... "The word 'faggot' is very derogatory and slanderous to all males," the suit continues. "Using the word 'Nigger' is dangerously offensive, disrespectful to all people. These words can permeate violence." The suit also claims that the book "constitutes a hate crime, and that it degrades the community"."
If I hadn't read the headline, I'd have thought this suit was being brought by gay activists.

Helping foreigners fit in: Grassroots leaders start activities for them to bond with S'poreans - "Mr Charles Chong, the ward's MP, said yesterday that he started noticing a growing number of new immigrants in the neighbourhood three years ago... Most of the new immigrants are from India, China, the Philippines and Myanmar. 'They are usually very happy to be here and have settled in well,' Mr Chong said. With his trademark grin, he added: 'When you ask Singaporean residents for feedback, they will complain that they have to wait more than 15 minutes for the bus. But when you ask new immigrants, they are happy that the bus comes in under 30 minutes.'"
If Singaporeans complain but immigrants are happy, the former should migrate and be replaced with the latter. Think win-win! In fact, we should ship in immigrants from Somalia and Darfur. They'll be even more grateful and easy to please than Chinese, Indians, Burmese and Filipinos. @euniqueflair: at the same time, we ship ourselves to other countries. think: upgrade.

City to employees: Wear underwear - "The City Council of Brooksville, Fla., has approved a citywide dress code requiring city employees to wear underwear, deodorant and properly-fitted clothes."

Monday, June 15, 2009

"To be a Christian, you must pluck out the eye of reason" - Martin Luther

This is likely a major source of general Protestant anti-intellectualism


On the dishonesty of Liberal Christians:

Gospel at Stake in Creation-Evolution Debate, Argues Ministry Leader

"There have been various attempts to 'reconcile' Darwinian evolution with biblical creation.

And yet, for Dr Carl Wieland, Managing Director of Creation Ministries International in Australia, it's not a mere matter of choosing between several equally plausible options, whether it be Young Earth creationism, which holds that the age of the earth is thousands of years and that it was created in six earth-rotation days, or Old Earth creationism, which incorporates geological findings that seem to point to the fact that the earth is billions of years old but rejects evolution, or theistic evolution, where evolution is fully embraced as God’s method of creating the world and universe or many others.

Responding to a query from The Christian Post (Singapore) during the Saturday premiere of a cutting-edge documentary produced by CMI at the New Sanctuary of St Andrew’s Cathedral, Dr Wieland believes that the view of Creation is inextricably tied to the reliability of the Bible as God’s supreme guide for human life.

He highlighted that evangelical commentators from hundreds of years ago never had any doubt that the six days of Creation mentioned in the Book of Genesis were referring to earth-rotation days, judging by the use of the Hebrew word ‘Yom’ in conjunction with the words for ‘evening’ and ‘morning’.

Moreover, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself alluded to the Old Testament as a trustworthy historical witness in His references to Jonah and the big fish and how God had created human beings male and female from the beginning of Creation, as opposed to millions of years later.

“[A]ll of the time-honoured rules of Christian exegesis, the historical-grammatical method tell you that Genesis was written as history,” he said, citing “pressure from science” rather than theological understanding as the main reason for the reservations of many Christian scholars in this regard.

“[A]nd yet you’ll find that most of the theologians don’t even understand enough about the science,” the General Practitioner-turned-Creation Science ministry director charged.

Indeed, liberal scholars, who have no interest in the fight for biblical authority, readily concede that the author of Genesis was trying to tell his readers that it was six ordinary length days and that the world was really covered in flood and so on.

What is the result of denying that Genesis is a historical record of God’s Creation?

“[A]t some point, you’ve got to come down on one side or the other; are the words of Jesus authoritative for the Church or are they not? If they are not, there’s a possibility of all sorts of error in the Bible. Then everything is up for grabs because you can invent your own Christianity by acquiring it from this bit and that bit and saying, ‘Well, I’ll throw this piece out because I don’t like it or am embarrassed by it’ and so on,” the MD stated.

And this has significant reverberations in society, according to the German-born Christian leader. He emphasised that social dilemmas that Singapore was currently experiencing such as the issue of homosexuality are related to the abandonment of biblical doctrines – in this case, that of marriage, how God intended for marriage to be one man for one woman.

More importantly, the issue of Creation strikes at the heart of the Christian faith, the Gospel and even the nature of God, he asserted.

“[T]he Gospel is… about the issue of sin and death,” he said. “If you accept the millions of years as a literal interpretation of the fossil record then you are saying that there was death and cancer and all of those bad things were in the world before Adam and Eve, therefore before sin… You’ve got to say that God must like those things because He said they are all very good at the end of the Creation period. God said He looked at everything He made and He said it’s all very good, which must include cancer and bloodshed and violence and so on…”

Holding that the world had experienced death, pain and suffering for millions of years makes it hard to justify the Christian doctrine that God’s nature is love before nonbelievers and sceptics, whereas, by taking Genesis as history, believers can give the answer that “it wasn’t always like that”, and that, in fact, all the animals originally ate plants.

The Young Earth creationist standpoint is also in line with the restoration mentioned in the Book of Revelation, where it says that the curse of the Fall will be removed and all things will be restored to a sinless, deathless condition as in the beginning. If the removal of the curse removes death, pain and suffering, Dr Wieland argues, then it’s clear that the curse brought in the death, pain and suffering.

Moreover, it is the only way in which Christians don’t have to compromise their faith but “can have a whole harmonious, integrated worldview where everything makes sense.”"

On the dishonesty of Fundamentalist Christians:

"I think in the first place that it is very pious to say and prudent to affirm that the holy Bible can never speak untruth—whenever its true meaning is understood... [reading] its bare words... not only contradictions and propositions far from true might thus be made to appear in the Bible, but even grave heresies and follies. Thus it would be necessary to assign to God feet, hands, and eyes, as well as corporeal and human affections, such as anger, repentance, hatred, and sometimes even the forgetting of things past and ignorance of those to come...

The Bible is not chained in every expression to conditions as strict as those which govern all physical effects; nor is God any less excellently revealed in Nature's actions than in the sacred statements of the Bible. Perhaps this is what Tertullian meant by these words: “We conclude that God is known first through Nature, and then again, more particularly, by doctrine; by Nature in His works, and by doctrine in His revealed word.”...

I do not feel obliged to believe that that same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them. He would not require us to deny sense and reason in physical matters which are set before our eyes and minds by direct experience or necessary demonstrations. This must be especially true in those sciences of which but the faintest trace (and that consisting of conclusions) is to be found in the Bible...

In St. Augustine we find the following words: “It is likewise commonly asked what we may believe about the form and shape of the heavens according to the Scriptures, for many contend much about these matters. But with superior prudence our authors have forborne to speak of this, as in no way furthering the student with respect to a blessed life—and, more important still, as taking up much of that time which should be spent in holy exercises. What is it to me whether heaven, like a sphere, surrounds the earth on all sides as a mass balanced in the center of the universe, or whether like a dish it merely covers and overcasts the earth?... to undertake this and discuss it is consistent neither with my leisure nor with the duty of those whom I desire to instruct in essential matters more directly conducing to their salvation and to the benefit of the holy Church.”...

I would say here something that was heard from an ecclesiastic of the most eminent degree: “That the intention of the Holy Ghost is to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how heaven goes.”...

We are unable to affirm that all interpreters of the Bible speak by divine inspiration, for if that were so there would exist no differences between them about the sense of a given passage... It would probably be wise and useful counsel if, beyond articles which concern salvation and the establishment of our Faith, against the stability of which there is no danger whatever that any valid and effective doctrine can ever arise, men would not aggregate further articles unnecessarily...

It is sufficiently obvious that to attribute motion to the sun and rest to the earth was therefore necessary lest the shallow minds of the common people should become confused, obstinate, and contumacious in yielding assent to the principal articles that are absolutely matters of faith. And if this was necessary, there is no wonder at all that it was carried out with great prudence in the holy Bible. I shall say further that not only respect for the incapacity of the vulgar, but also current opinion in those times, made the sacred authors accommodate themselves (in matters unnecessary to salvation) more to accepted usage than to the true essence of things. Speaking of this, St. Jerome writes: “As if many things were not spoken in the Holy Bible according to the judgment of those times in which they were acted, rather than according to the truth contained.” (27) And elsewhere the same saint says: “It is the custom for the biblical scribes to deliver their judgments in many things according to the commonly received opinion of their times.” (28) And on the words in the twenty-sixth chapter of Job, He stretcheth out the north over the void, and hangeth the earth above nothing , (29) St. Thomas Aquinas notes that the Bible calls “void” or “nothing” that space which we know to be not empty, but filled with air. Nevertheless the Bible, he says, in order to accommodate itself to the beliefs of the common people (who think there is nothing in that space), calls it “void” and “nothing.” Here are the words of St. Thomas : “What appears to us in the upper hemisphere of the heavens to be empty, and not a space filled with air, the common people regard as void; and it is usually spoken of in the holy Bible according to the ideas of the common people.”...

All that is really prohibited is the “perverting into senses contrary to that of the holy Church or that of the concurrent agreement of the Fathers those passages, and those alone, which pertain to faith or ethics, or which concern the edification of Christian doctrine.” So said the Council of Trent in its fourth session. But the mobility or stability of the earth or sun is neither a matter of faith nor one contrary to ethics...

[Quoting St Augustine] “In points that are obscure, or far from clear, if we should read anything in the Bible that may allow of several constructions consistently with the faith to be taught, let us not commit ourselves to any one of these with such precipitous obstinacy that when, perhaps, the truth is more diligently searched into, this may fall to the ground, and we with it. Then we would indeed be seen to have contended not for the sense of divine Scripture, but for our own ideas by wanting something of ours to be the sense of Scripture when we should rather want the meaning of Scripture to be ours.” (38) And later it is added, to teach us that no proposition can be contrary to the faith unless it has first been proven to be false...

[Quoting St Augustine again] “It often falls out that a Christian may not fully understand some point about the earth, the sky, or the other elements of this world—the motion, rotation, magnitude, and distances of the stars; the known vagaries of the sun and moon; the circuits of the years and epochs; the nature of animals, fruits, stones, and other things of that sort, and hence may not expound it rightly or make it clear by experiences. Now it is too absurd, yea, most pernicious and to be avoided at all costs, for an infidel to find a Christian so stupid as to argue these matters as if they were Christian doctrine; he will scarce be able to contain his laughter at seeing error written in the skies, as the proverb says. The worst of the matter is not that a person in error should be laughed at, but that our authors should be thought by outsiders to hold the same opinions, and should be censured and rejected as ignorant, to the great prejudice of those whose salvation we are seeking. For when infidels refute any Christian on a matter which they themselves thoroughly understand, they thereby evince their slight esteem for our Bible. And why should the Bible be believed concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the Kingdom of Heaven , when it is considered to be erroneously written as to points which admit of direct demonstration or unquestionable reasoning?”

--- Galileo Galilei, Letter to Madame Christina of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany: Concerning the Use of Biblical Quotations in Matters of Science (1615)

I was surprised to learn that even such early luminaries as St Jerome and Thomas Aquinas did not advocate Biblical literalism.

Be that as it may, it's a pity everyone doublethinks and ignores the elephant in the room, but that is the consequence of begging the question.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New blog picture:

The profession of the future.
"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." - Mark Twain


Jogjakarta trip
Day 4 - 1st May - Water Castle
(Part 2)

We elected to skip the Sultan's carriage museum, not least since we had already seen pictures of his various drawn vehicles.

The next stop was the Water Castle (Tamansari), a reconstructed version (with UNESCO help) of what was "built in 1758 by Sultan Hamengkubuwono I as a rest house and pleasure park for the Royal family" and damaged in an 1867 earthquake. According to our guide, the area used to be a lake and they started working on it in 1750.

I had been earlier advised by a friendly local at Vredeburg not to visit as, in his words, it was "no Water, no Castle". I quoted this to our guide, who said that the place was not nice, but the story was. Our guide fee was fixed anyway, so we assented.

People camwhoring on the parapets

Obama as Jaws

Stairway and Entrance to the greater complex

Skyline from near where the people were camwhoring. The volcano in the distance is Mt Merapi.

Bombed out shell. Maybe UNESCO money ran out.

A moment's respite (from the heat, if not the humidity)

They also had some grafitti in death-defying positions. Why anyone would draw a Makcik (second picture) is beyond me.

Hiao Indonesian Girl

More skyline, from higher up

Amidst all the Indonesian kids' camwhoring, the best of all was this guy who took himself in weird emo poses

More desolation

Our guide told us they were still restoring the place, and these houses would be demolished and built over by 2010

Doorway with reliefs

Pregnant CWN

Underground tunnel: the area used to be underwater so the Sultan would travel by means of the tunnel

Ticketed entrance to Water Castle

Map of area

There're some very nice pictures of the Water Castle online:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Unfortunately, they bore little resemblance to what I saw:

Fetid water. The mask in the centre of the latter picture is a Buddhist symbol of protection.

Algae pond

There were 3 swimming pools: one for the women, one for the children and one private one for the Sultan (and his woman of the day).

Spout water came out from

Dried out pool

Honeymoon bed of Sultans 1-3. The holes you see underneath are for fires to warm the bed - in the times of Sultans 1-3 it was cold.

The interior had small doorways so you had to bend down, clasping your hands, to pass. This was to enforce politeness.

Changing room with mirror (fill the urn with water) and clothes shelves. 44 women used to swim naked in the pool.

Gate - main entrance for guards

Ayam long legs

We then went to the Sultan's Meditation Chamber. He would meditate inside for 40 days and 40 nights and get magical powers.

Planks would be placed on top of the partitions, and water underneath would keep the Sultan cool while he meditated

Looking out of the meditation chamber

Entering meditation chamber

Light seen through hole in meditation chamber

Road sign in Sanskrit

Bombed out neighborhood

Our guide had earlier brought us to his cousin's shop, where he made puppets. We declined to buy anything. He now brought us to his mother's house, where she made batik sarongs (and he made postcards - because he said working in the palace didn't pay well).

Before he brought us in he claimed we were under no obligation to buy anything ("I'm not trying to pressure you), but once we entered he used the hard sell on us (saying that we should help his mama and the family business so she would have money to eat, and that she didn't earn more than that) so CWN finally broke and bought something.

While we were in his mother's house I asked him if any of his family members sold Nasi Gudeg, but he either didn't hear me or pretended not to hear me. Maybe his sister was a prostitute, but because CWN was with me (and he helped us take pictures on the honeymoon bed) he didn't ask if I wanted to aid his family in that way.

He also tried to guilt us by claiming his mother's house collapsed during the 2006 earthquake, and they got a 50 million Rupiah grant from the government to rebuild it, but it was smaller than before. Please lah.

The bastard walking off. He didn't even walk us back to the main road.

Apparently there's a Becak association. Maybe they discuss strategies to prey on tourists: "Rely on the weather to wear them down and then prey on them". And fix tourist prices.

Bensin. There was something compelling about the Bensin signs. Given how common the stalls were, they must've used as fuel for their motorsikals.

Horse carriage. Incidentally, Bruges smelled worse, since it had more horses - even if it was not as hot there.

[Addendum: Many horses had flowers on them, presumably to give them a fresh appearance. Yet, half the time the flower looked sad or wilted, making the horse look even more pathetic.]

They were so proud of Indomie that they advertised that they used it

Cute puppy

Halal cosmetics

Since we were quite far from our hotel, we decided to take a becak back. Besides the distance, we hoped our distance from tourist traps would ensure rates were more reasonable.

'Nice brownies'

Broken horse shit collector. Kind of defeats the point. Incidentally I didn't see any broken ones in Bruges. Hurr hurr.

Don't jump!
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