Older blog entries for marnanel (starting at number 935)


"We should be taking steps to celebrate Easter in creative new ways: in art, literature, children’s games, poetry, music, dance, festivals, bells, special concerts, anything that comes to mind. This is our greatest festival. Take Christmas away, and in biblical terms you lose two chapters at the front of Matthew and Luke, nothing else. Take Easter away, and you don’t have a New Testament; you don’t have a Christianity... This is our greatest day. We should put the flags out." -- Tom Wright

Syndicated 2012-04-07 11:52:00 from Monument


This email about the BBC interview says: "Morning or early afternoon is best for us as we would have to travel back in time for it to be on our 6.30pm programme."

I have just realised it means: "We would have to travel back... in time for it to be on our 6.30pm programme" and not, as I've been thinking for hours, "We would have to travel back in time... for it to be on our 6.30pm programme."

The funny thing is that I wasn't awfully surprised by the misreading. I mean, Doctor Who works there and all.

Syndicated 2012-04-04 14:37:02 from Monument

marnanel @ 2012-04-03T11:55:00

"I should also mention that there's a memory-saving hack. AVALOT.EXE is just a bootloader, which sets up a block of memory, points an interrupt vector at it, and then loads the actual executable, AVALOT9. AVALOT9 is then capable of storing temporary state information in the block, and also setting a function code which tells AVALOT.EXE what to do when AVALOT9 quits: either loading COMMAND.COM so that shelling out gives you a reasonable amount of memory, or loading a cut scene (and then loading AVALOT9 again afterwards), or quitting."

-- me, in email, discussing the design of Avalot with someone from ScummVM

Syndicated 2012-04-03 10:55:52 from Monument

Daughter am I in my mother's house, but mistress in my own.

Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem about Canada, which includes the lines

A Nation spoke to a Nation, A Throne sent word to a Throne:
"Daughter am I in my mother's house, but mistress in my own."

In the book I'm currently reading, Chesterton repurposes the lines above to talk about the Thomist idea of local autonomy under God: how God doesn't want followers who are automatons, but rather wants followers who are mature and able to make their own decisions. I never thought of this idea with respect to the Commonwealth before, and it's a fascinating metaphor.

Syndicated 2012-03-29 11:51:04 from Monument

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

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