Older blog entries for marnanel (starting at number 930)

prejudice, etc

There are many accounts on Twitter pretending to be famous people from the past. One of these, @MaryHChrist, who plays the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, joined in with today's ridiculous tag, "signs your son might be gay", and in so doing drew much criticism.

I'm wondering why. Do people believe that being gay is such a terrible thing that to suggest Jesus might have been celibate and gay, rather than celibate and straight, shocks them? Or are they shocked by the idea that Jesus might ever have experienced sexual desire at all?

And with more immediate reference, have they forgotten the stiry of the sheep and the goats? Where you see someone hated for their skin colour, their gender, their lack of money... wherever there is oppression, look at the people on the receiving end, and there you see Jesus. Prejudice against gay people is no different.

Syndicated 2012-03-22 17:28:32 from Monument


A: "These days, I don't know why underwear doesn't come with some sort of electronic device built into the waistband. It would display the number of days it'd been worn without being washed. It would take all the guesswork out of getting dressed."

B: "Yeah, I'll just go down to the trademark office and register the name 'Skank-O-Pants', shall I?"

Syndicated 2012-03-20 13:48:32 from Monument

The Lady in her many-legged wisdom

This is from something I said to Mary Ann Dimand:

It always amuses me that humans think Leviathan is there for us to fear and fight, but the psalmist says Leviathan is there in order to play. We're so often in the habit of thinking that the whole business is all about us. One day I shall retell several Bible stories as they are told among the spiders, to make that point:

"The Lady in her many-legged wisdom looked upon the earth and saw that it lacked houses and railings on which to build webs, and so on the last day as an afterthought she made humans to build them, for she loves us; but the humans became cruel and made shoes to hit us with, until the Lady knew they would have to be redeemed. For the Lady, like us, is perfect, but humans need silk spun for them before they may approach heaven. The Lady caused herself to be born among them, in her humility becoming not only human but even male, and this is how it happened..."

Syndicated 2012-03-18 16:55:51 from Monument


Kid 1, on the train this morning: "I'm going to Thorpe Park. And I'm going to ride on a roller-coaster."

Kid 2: "What I always do is, I get hold of some screws and nuts and put them in my pocket before I go. Then when the ride's just starting, when we're strapped in and we can't get out, I hold them out in my hand to the person next to me and say, 'I found these under your seat. Do you think they're important?'"

Syndicated 2012-03-16 08:57:39 from Monument

12 Mar 2012 (updated 12 Mar 2012 at 12:05 UTC) »

Why I don't support the Premier Radio petition

Premier Radio has been putting a petition around. It's asking for a law to be made requiring ISPs to block pornographic websites if the person logged in is under 18. Here I am explaining why I don't support this petition and won't be signing it. This is not intended to disparage anyone who has signed it; it is only to explain why I shall not be doing so.

Firstly, it is incoherent. The concept of "logged on" applies to a computer, not to a network. Various operating systems implement this in various ways, and some have no such concept. The ISP has no way of knowing this information.

Secondly, the term "pornography" is notoriously difficult to define. Facebook have recently used it to prevent mothers posting pictures of themselves breastfeeding their own children. School boards in the United States who wished to promote abstinence-only education have used it to stop their students reading about safe sex. How is the term to be defined, and who will be making the decision, and how will they be accountable? Not too long ago, a Pennsylvania official who had the ability to block websites based on their content abused his power to prevent anyone in the state reading a political website which was critical of him.

Finally, the petition is couched in such terms that to dissent from it is almost to be seen to approve of child abuse. This is not a reasonable way to put forward an idea, and I wish to have nothing to do with it.

Edit: I've been pointed to http://www.crimperman.org/2012/02/29/why-internet-blocking-will-not-protect-our-children/ which is another opinion concurring with this one.

Syndicated 2012-03-12 10:51:46 (Updated 2012-03-12 11:44:04) from Monument

Admin dreams

I woke up twice in the night, each time from an exhausting admin dream. Do other people get admin dreams? I have nightmares where nothing particularly bad happens, but I'm run ragged trying to keep up with the demands of dozens of unhappy clients. At one point I remember being asked to look after a lighthouse while the lighthouse keepers were on holiday, and then needing my phone and losing it. Each time I woke up exhausted.

Syndicated 2012-03-01 09:16:20 from Monument

And we were singing...

And we were singing...
Bye-bye Mr Raspberry Pi,
Seems your suitors want computers that are short in supply.
I guess they'll wait till another comes by,
then I reckon they will all reapply.

Syndicated 2012-02-29 11:27:25 from Monument


This morning, while waiting for a train, I was sitting on a bench in memory of someone or other. Just beside it, also in this person's memory, was a rose-bush that nobody cared for.

Let me tell you a bit about roses here. You and I, who plant the roses, believe that the purpose of the rose is to grow flowers. But the rose has other ideas. To the rose, a flower is only the means to the end of producing a rosehip, which is its seed; the irony, lost on the rose, is that all cultivated roses are infertile anyway. The rosehips don't fall for a season or so, and there won't be any new flowers there until they do. So one part of caring for a rose is to cut away the hips, or the "dead heads" as people sometimes call them. This rose had scores of hips, and clearly wasn't being looked after.


So I got my hands a bit bloody this morning, but there will be roses again in the summer. I couldn't help but be reminded of Jesus's claim to be the true vine, "...and my father is the gardener; every branch in me that bears no fruit he will remove, but every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be more fruitful." For me and for the rose, feeling the edge of the pruning knife means I'm doing something right.

Syndicated 2012-02-28 07:53:31 (Updated 2012-02-28 07:54:07) from Monument


The scene: A work break room. MARNANEL is getting a cup of coffee from the machine, and CLEANING PERSON is squirting disinfectant into the sink.

MARNANEL: Thank you.


MARNANEL: For cleaning the sink.

CLEANING PERSON: Cleaning the sink? (She wrinkles her nose in confusion.) You're saying "thank you" for me doing this?

MARNANEL: Yeah, so we don't all die of cholera. Because I don't LIKE dying of cholera.


MARNANEL: And other waterborne diseases! People died of them ALL THE TIME before we started disinfecting sinks and so on. So I'm glad you're cleaning the sink, because it's a horrible way to die.


MARNANEL: Yeah! Bloody diarrhoea! Vomiting! And then you die painfully.


MARNANEL: *decides this would be a good place to end the conversation*

Syndicated 2012-02-27 15:07:54 from Monument

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