August 2005 roundup

Came down with blogittis
Those jackbooted fascists at the Department of Homeland Security
Nancyboys and Fairies League
Nancyboys and Fairies League (part 2)
Friday Rodent Blogging - Imo
Too dumb to be a criminal
Intelligent Falling
Gas prices
Nancyboys and Fairies League (part 3)
Deja vu, all over again
Science vs Superstition
On Christianity
Bengals 17-27 Eagles
Friday Rodent Blogging - Kuzco
Turn Signals On A Land Raider
University Of California
Hurricane Katrina on the news
Zombie Walk 2005
Evolution is NOT a theory

Evolution is NOT a theory

Don't look at me like that, I'm serious. Evolution is not a theory, at least, not in the way that the anti-science lobby mean it.

The anti-science crowd would have you believe that there is some question as to whether evolution happens at all. This is wrong. This is wrong. This is so wrong that I may have to invent a whole new word for just how wrong this is, because, somehow, simply capitalising the "W" doesn't describe it adequately.

Evolution is a fact. Things evolve. We know this, we've proved it, we've caused it, we've seen it, we're living it. The reason that evolution is called a theory by the scientific community is because we cannot say with absolute certainty that our explanations of how it happens are 100% complete and accurate. How evolution happens is a nearly-but-not-totally settled question, but that it happens is 100%, take it to the bank, bet your last dollar, doubt me not, proven, total, utter fact.

So the people who say different either do not understand the principles involved, or are deliberately lying.

And don't give me any of that "microevolution" vs "macroevolution" bullshit, either. That's insidious creationist propoganda designed to fool the weak minded. The difference between so-called "microevolution" and so-called "macroevolution" is the difference between taking a step and going for a walk. There is no magic barrier except in the minds of the creationists. It's like saying "microtravel" (driving less than ten miles) cannot lead to "macrotravel" (driving more than five hundred miles). It's plain stupid, but it sounds scientific, and, on the surface, reasonable, so people who don't know better swallow it.

People resist evolution because they know what it means, it's just another area where gods have been evicted. If we came from primates (and we did, because we're still primates), then no god created us to be special and wonderful. We're not the creation of a loving, caring god, we're the end result of millions of years of purely natural processes. To my mind, we're all the more wonderful and awe-inspiring because of that fact, not less.

What we have here is the god of the gaps. Humans have, since our earliest recorded history, an amusing tendancy to attribute anything we don't understand to the actions of some form of supernatural being. We once worshipped the sun and the moon, believing them to be incandescent beings living in the sky. Over time, our beliefs became more sophisticated, and we stopped worshipping things and started worshipping things that caused things. Thunderstorms were caused by gods, plants grew and rain fell thanks to gods, women got pregnant thanks to gods (well, more usually, godesses), gods made the harvest bountiful and the children healthy. Then we got another step more sophisticated, and suddenly gods started causing concepts: love, poetry, beauty, justice, war, etc.

Maybe it's due to the arrogance of mankind. Maybe we're forced, by our very nature, to be unable to accept that we can't understand something. Maybe we're wired to think that if we don't understand it, it must be inexplicable. It's not our ignorance, it's the mysterious and ineffable ways of the gods.

Over the last few thousand years, with science exploring and explaining more and more of our universe, the places where gods can exist are becoming vanishingly small. We know how thunderstorms happen, we know how crops grow, how rain falls, how women become pregnant. We know that gods have nothing to do with jusitce or war. We know that no god was involved in creating us as we are.

Some of us just haven't accepted that we know this.

Maybe monotheism is the last gasp of humanity's obsession with explaining everything by shoving gods in where our knowledge is incomplete, but, by definition, it will be the hardest hurdle to jump.

Next stop, abiogenesis.

This rant was inspired by a conversation I had at work.


Zombie Walk 2005

This may just be the coolest thing I've ever heard of.

Apparently, a large group of people get dressed up as zombies and then proceed to walk - sorry, stumble - around Vancouver moaning theatrically and yelling "braaaaains" at random passers-by, eventually ending up at a cemetary.


Here's pictures from this years' event. Lots of them.

Hurricane Katrina on the news

What is it with news and hurricanes? I went into work today and the TV in the break room was tuned to the news, showing continuous footage of various reporters, bent almost double in the wind, soaked to the skin, screaming to be heard over the roaring wind.


Does it add to the veracity of the report? Is it some kind of Me-Big-Man contest? Which complete bloody moron came up with the stupid idea of putting reporters in places that sensible people have either left or are currently a good fifty feet underground?

That cameraman was in an SUV. That's the cherry on the top of this dumb cake. Sitting in the dry filming the horizontal reporter giving his barely-legible report through a closed window. A window, by the way, which was streaked with rain, not exactly aiding visibility. Why not let the bloody reporter sit in the car, too? Is it really that important that the reporter get out there in the middle of the storm?

And, think on this: These people are the people who most of America relies on to tell them what's going on in the world. We have a saying where I come from about people who are too dumb to get in out of the rain.


I've had to change the comments procedure to include those bloody awful "verify the word" boxes because I was getting spam comments.

Is there nothing that people can't twist into a bloody advertising tool?


University of California

So, it seems that UC is requiring students to have actual, creditable, relevant qualifications before allowing them to take courses. Is this unusual in America? Is it normal for a university to accept students for a - say - degree in microbiology if they only have qualifications in pottery?

No, I doubt very much it's unusual.

But, with the push to get religious tomfoolery accepted as genuine knowledge, UC is being sued because - gasp! - they don't believe that courses which don't meet the requirements should be credited. It's almost as if they think they have the right to run their own admissions or something. Fie, UC! Shame on you for trying to keep up the standards of your applicants!

The lawsuit cites several examples of recently rejected courses submitted by Calvary Chapel for credit into the UC system, such as "Christianity's Influence on America," which a UC document cited as "too narrow (and) too specialized" as reasons for not approving the course.

"The content of the course outline submitted for approval is not consistent with the empirical historical knowledge generally accepted in the collegiate community," states the UC document, which was sent to the school last fall. "Students who take these courses may not be well prepared if and when they enter history (or) social science courses at UC."

(emphasis mine)

So, the course is basically a slanted, biased look at "Christianity's Influence on America", and they expect it to be a relevant qualification for someone wishing to study history at an establishment that, obviously, believes that history should have at least some connection to actual events.

What's scary is this:

"They do not have the right to try and secularize a private, Christian education," said attorney Robert Tyler, who represents the Murrieta school and its students. "While they are allowing other courses from other secular and religious viewpoints, they will not give credit to courses from a Christian viewpoint."

This is a typical theist's position: always play the martyr. UC is not trying to "
secularize a private, Christian education", they just want to control their own standards. You can teach that garbage as much as you like, as often as you like and as hard as you like.

Just don't expect the rest of the world to take it seriously.

Turn Signals On A Land Raider

I've been bitten by some mutated American beastie, and now have a lump the size of a tennis ball on my arm, so it's on with the anti-itch cream, down with the benadryl and off to bed.

But before I go, I want to give a shout out to one of my favourite online comics, Turn Signals On A Land Raider. It really is one of the funniest sites around, if you're a Games Workshop fan.

I'll also give an honourable mention to Golden Throne, which, while suffering from infrequent updates, is as funny as a fart in a church (as the saying goes).


Friday Rodent Blogging

Exhibit B is Kuzco. We acquired Kuzco, and her sister Pacha, from a local adoption charity. Kuzco grew up one day, when her testicles suddenly dropped.

Er, yeah. Kuzco's a guy. And so's Pacha. The adoption agency somehow missed that.

And male hamsters don't share too well, so after a few very loud fights, we had to split them up.

Kuzco is the smarter of the pair, a little escape artist who regularly goes for midnight runs through the house after chewing his way out of yet another hamster habitat. But at least he doesn't hide, and he often sits waiting for us, almost tapping his foot with impatience while we put him back in his house.


Bengals 17-27 Eagles

Now I guess I've got another reason to dislike the Eagles..

And in what freaky alternate dimension do the Redskins beat the Steelers?

I mean, come on!


On Christianity

Most people are aware that the bible is divided into two parts: the old testament, which is Jewish; and the new testament, which is Christian.

But in reality, it should be divided into three parts, and I'm not talking about that kooky book that the mormons keep trying to give away.

The first part of the new testament - often referred to as "the gospels" - tells the story of a dude, little bit long-haired, little bit liberal, little bit hippy, little bit peacenik, who preached a philosophy based upon the outrageous notion that people really should be nice to each other. This idea scared people so much that they killed him, or so the story goes.

Whether you believe that this guy really existed or not, and, if so, whether you believe he was in any way supernatural or not, there are worse philosophies to live by.

Those first four books talk about love, peace, understanding, tolerance, and general, all-round getting alongness.

It does downhill real fast after that.

Later books in the new testament were written by a howling bigot, apparently called Paul, and they are as different from the first four as it's possible to be. Gone is the love, peace, understanding and tolerance. In their place are hatred, intolerance, bigotry and more judgement than you can shake a big stick at.

If you want to find passages against homosexuality in the new testament, don't bother checking the gospels - it ain't there. Jesus never mentions hot man-on-man love. But it is in Paul's ravings, and in spades. He even says they and their friends should be put to death.

Want to hear about how the loving god described by Jesus - who is, well, god - will bring down his wrath on unbelievers? Paul's your man.

Want to see where it is in the new testament that women are condemned to be the slaves of men? Look no further than Paul.

Want passages that detail how Christians are better than everyone else and should look down on them? Yep, go to Paul, go straight to Paul, do not pass go...

Here's a good one, Jesus is repeatedly quoted as saying that humans must choose salvation. Paul doesn't think so, he repeatedly claims that god choose how we would believe "
before the foundation of the world". Yes, Paul contradicts god. Mmmm, tasty.

So, why, you may ask, do so many Christians seem to follow the word of Paul instead of the word of Christ? And isn't the term "Christian" - meaning "follower of Christ" - an inaccurate name? Shouldn't they be "Paulians", given that the embrace the hatred and bigotry of Paul over the love and tolerance of Christ?

Whenever anyone supports the notion of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, they are following the teachings of Paul, who hated homosexuals, and not those of Christ, who tolerated everyone.

Check out what Jesus said about public prayer and ask yourself; is going to church an Christian act or a Paulian act?

What about Christ's opinions on religious rituals and opulent churches? Is the Pope a Christian or a Paulian?

Don't get me wrong. I'm an atheist, so as far as I'm concerned it's all a bunch of bollocks anyway, but Christianity might actually be a nice, pleasant religion if it wasn't for all of the bloody Paulians screwing it up

p.s., ask any gay, anyone who has that much seething hatred for homosexuals is almost certainly closeted, hmmm Paul?


Science vs Superstition

My time machine has allowed me to nip foward into the future and bring back this story:


BBC exclusive, 22 July 2011.

Working as a fryer monkey in McDonalds is depressing enough, but imagine doing it when you've got a double doctorate in Physics and Molecular Biology.

Dr David Smith (name changed to protect identity) doesn't have to imagine, he's living it. Smith came to England last year, his degrees, with the ink "still wet", clutched proudly, seeking a postition in Britian's ever growing scientific research community.

Smith was to be discouraged by the reaction. Thanks to policies implemented by President George W Bush, degrees from US schools are nearly worthless anywhere in the world.

"Seriously," said Smith, "A degree from the University of Baghdad is worth more than mine, and that keeps getting blown up."

Smith left High School with no knowledge of the most important scientific theories, evolution having been banned, shortly followed by gravity, electricity and quantum physics.

A record number of college graduates in the US are also members of the Flat Earth Society, and firmly believe that the sun orbits the Earth. US law, enacted under the current President, Jeb Bush, prevents any teacher - from preschool to college - from correcting this falsehood, if even one parent objects on "moral or ethical grounds".

Smith has considered joining the Church of England. "About the only thing I learned through school was the Bible, which I'm now word perfect on. I guess that's a job I could do."

Smith shares the McDonalds where he works with two other doctorate holders, who work the night shift sweeping up.

(That article was originally posted on Atheist Parents)

Yes, it may surprise my friends over in England to learn that there is serious debate going on here over whether to continue teaching evolution in the nation's schools.

See, a bunch of christians have gotten together and decided that evolution is anti-god, and therfore must be stamped out at all costs. Initially, they simply challenged it in court - the famous Scopes "Monkey Trial" in 1925 - and lost, repeatedly. The reason for the trial needs to be set out briefly.

The US constitution contains, in its first amendment, a prohibition against making any laws concerning religion - both facilitation and prohibition. The framers, we are told through their own writings, wanted to create a "wall of separation" between church and state. This principle means that the government has no business messing with religion, and religion has no business messing with the government. The principle has been busted a few times - all American coins and notes contain the unconstitutional phrase "in god we trust" and the Pledge of Allegience was altered in the fifties to include the words "under god", for example - but it remains a guiding principle of the country.

The problem is that education in the USA, as with almost all developed countries, is a government system. And thus, adhering to the constitution, schools can't teach religion unless they are privately funded. Schools can teach about religion, but they cannot teach one religion as true. It is this principle that has defeated all previous attempts to foist religion upon kids using state or federal funds.

The last challenge was called "Creationism", in which the proponents postulated that life on Earth was and is so complex and perfect that it had to have been created by god.

Yeah, okay.

Creationism was defeated because it's pretty obvious that it's religion.

But no they're back, with the so-called "Theory of Intelligent Design". ID (as it is known) postulates that life on Earth was and is so complex and perfect that it had to be created by something, we're not saying who, we're not saying god, but it was something, and we're not talking aliens here.

Replacing the established science of evolution with ID was dead before it started, so the proponents argued that ID should be given equal time. It didn't work, because not only is ID not a theory, it is not science. So then they wanted schools to "teach the controversy", claiming that many prominent scientists reject evolution and embrace ID, so teachers should have to devote a segment of their biology class to telling their students this.

Scarily, some county education boards in the US are actually considering this and worse. Cobb county, in Georgia (that's the state, not the country), ordered stickers placed on every science textbook that mentioned evolution, describing evolution as "a theory and not a fact". A federal judge ordered them removed, seeing the stickers for what they were, an attempt to impugn genuine science for the advancement of religion.

This battle has been raging ever since Darwin first published his abstract works The Origin Of Species and, later, The Descent Of Man, and, although most countries around the world have made peace with the fact of evolution, America - well, "red state" America, anyway - is still fighting it kicking and screaming.

Deja vu, all over again

Haven't we done this before?

The Bush administration wants to go to war, so they start building reasons, then when somebody checks those reasons they turn out to be rubbish, and then the administration "slams" the report and, well, ignores it.

Iraq, WMDs. Now Iran, nukes.

Doesn't it seem like there's a pattern emerging?

(BTW, just in case there's anyone reading who watches FOX, WMDs have not, ever, never, not in any way, been found in Iraq. This is why pro-war sites have been, for a while now, trying to justify the war without the reason it was started.)

And there's even a repeat of Ignoring All Other Solutions. The Russian proposal, that they would oversee and remove any and all nuclear waste from Iran's nuclear power station, was barely even discussed before it was rejected. And yet, it would negate the problem 100%. Without the waste, which can - using a very lengthy and expensive process - be made into weapons-grade material, Iran's alleged "nucular ambitions" would be entirely unadvanced. Still, like Putin's solutions to the Iraq issue, they'll be rejected because they address the stated reasons, not the real reasons.

The Bush administration rejected Putin's plans for a solution to Iraq and claimed they would "reject any solution which left Saddam in power".

Soooo..what was the war about, again?

UN1442 was the vehicle, not the destination.


Nancyboys and Fairies League (part 3)

One of the biggest differences between American Football and Sports As Practiced Elsewhere In The World is this business of pointing at the sky after a touchdown. With the exception of the Brazilian football team, very few sports teams or players around the world make such a big deal out of thanking their god when something goes right. But in the NFL, it's a very rare game when some player doesn't do this.

Now, I'm not interested in telling people what to believe in. If you want to believe that there's an invisible old man who lives in the sky who helps you score, then that's your bag. It would be nice, however, to actually get to ask some of these people what they think they are doing.

Let's briefly touch upon the staggering hubris involved in a player who believes that their god favours them over the other team. Why? On what grounds? Is this one of those theistic circular arguments that goes "we couldn't score if god doesn't want us to so the fact that we did proves that god loves us more than the other guys"?

And why thank your god when you score, but don't get annoyed with him when you don't? We never hear players grumbling that they would have scored if "god hadn't made them fumble". Why not?

And what about winning and losing? All credit to The Invisible Sky Buddy when you win, but nobody blames the big guy when they lose. Why not? In preseason week 1, god liked the Patriots, Green Bay and Seattle, and on his holy hit list were the Bengals, the Eagles and the Cowboys. By week 2, god shed his loving countenance upon the Bengals, the Eagles and the Cowboys, and gave the divine middle finger to the Patriots, Green Bay and Seattle. My, capricious, isn't he?

So why don't they blame their chosen deity, even when there may be a logical reason for the loss? Take T.O. and his "god wants me to win the Super Bowl" lines from earlier this year. How about reading the bible and looking to see what it says about pride and humility? Why has nobody thought that the Eagles lost the Super Bowl because Owen's unfeasible arrogance and presumption verily caused the Lord to be mightily pissed, and thus a swift lesson in humility was formulated. Pity it didn't work.

I'll leave with this thought:

It's a shame god spends so much time helping professional sports players that he has no time for all the kids with cancer.


Gas prices

Gas prices here have hit over $2.50 per gallon. Horrendous.

Or is it?

When Justin called from England he told me that the nearest station was charging 97 pence per litre. Okay, two quick conversions:

1 British pound is currently 1.8022 US dollars. So that's $1.75 per litre.

1 US gallon is 3.785 litres. So that's $6.62 per gallon.

I don't know whether to laugh at Americans who gripe about their prices, or offer a "pthbthbt" to the Brits who are paying close to three times as much.

Nah, maybe I'll do both.



Congratulations to Justin and Yaz, who woke us at six this morning to announce the news of a third addition to their family, a bouncing baby girl to finish the set with their two sons.

Don't worry, that's the kind of news I don't mind being woken up for.

Hope everything's still going well, and congratulations again, guys.

Intelligent Falling

From The Onion, via Wet Blanket at Atheist Parents:

Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory

KANSAS CITY, KS—As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.

"Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is pushing them down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.

Burdett added: "Gravity—which is taught to our children as a law—is founded on great gaps in understanding. The laws predict the mutual force between all bodies of mass, but they cannot explain that force. Isaac Newton himself said, 'I suspect that my theories may all depend upon a force for which philosophers have searched all of nature in vain.' Of course, he is alluding to a higher power."

Founded in 1987, the ECFR is the world's leading institution of evangelical physics, a branch of physics based on literal interpretation of the Bible.

According to the ECFR paper published simultaneously this week in the International Journal Of Science and the adolescent magazine God's Word For Teens!, there are many phenomena that cannot be explained by secular gravity alone, including such mysteries as how angels fly, how Jesus ascended into Heaven, and how Satan fell when cast out of Paradise.

The ECFR, in conjunction with the Christian Coalition and other Christian conservative action groups, is calling for public-school curriculums to give equal time to the Intelligent Falling theory. They insist they are not asking that the theory of gravity be banned from schools, but only that students be offered both sides of the issue "so they can make an informed decision."

"We just want the best possible education for Kansas' kids," Burdett said.

Proponents of Intelligent Falling assert that the different theories used by secular physicists to explain gravity are not internally consistent. Even critics of Intelligent Falling admit that Einstein's ideas about gravity are mathematically irreconcilable with quantum mechanics. This fact, Intelligent Falling proponents say, proves that gravity is a theory in crisis.

"Let's take a look at the evidence," said ECFR senior fellow Gregory Lunsden."In Matthew 15:14, Jesus says, 'And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.' He says nothing about some gravity making them fall—just that they will fall. Then, in Job 5:7, we read, 'But mankind is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upwards.' If gravity is pulling everything down, why do the sparks fly upwards with great surety? This clearly indicates that a conscious intelligence governs all falling."

Critics of Intelligent Falling point out that gravity is a provable law based on empirical observations of natural phenomena. Evangelical physicists, however, insist that there is no conflict between Newton's mathematics and Holy Scripture.

"Closed-minded gravitists cannot find a way to make Einstein's general relativity match up with the subatomic quantum world," said Dr. Ellen Carson, a leading Intelligent Falling expert known for her work with the Kansan Youth Ministry. "They've been trying to do it for the better part of a century now, and despite all their empirical observation and carefully compiled data, they still don't know how."

"Traditional scientists admit that they cannot explain how gravitation is supposed to work," Carson said. "What the gravity-agenda scientists need to realize is that 'gravity waves' and 'gravitons' are just secular words for 'God can do whatever He wants.'"

Some evangelical physicists propose that Intelligent Falling provides an elegant solution to the central problem of modern physics.

"Anti-falling physicists have been theorizing for decades about the 'electromagnetic force,' the 'weak nuclear force,' the 'strong nuclear force,' and so-called 'force of gravity,'" Burdett said. "And they tilt their findings toward trying to unite them into one force. But readers of the Bible have already known for millennia what this one, unified force is: His name is Jesus."


Too dumb to be a criminal

From the BBC comes the story of a criminal who was dumb enough to rob a store that sells CCTV equipment.

What is the criminal class coming to these days? It's Darwinism in action, right before your eyes.


Friday Rodent Blogging

Apparently, it's traditional for blogs to publish pictures of their cats on fridays, but I no longer have the (mis)fortune to share my abode with one of those evil geniuses, so instead I'm posting pictures of our rodent infestation.

The first suspect is Imo, short for Imhotep. He's a gerbil, and also the meanest, nastiest animal alive. I kid you not. Oh, and it's just to me. Every time I reach into his cage I get attacked. Not my wife, though. He's as gentle as a lamb when she's around. He must have something against me. Usually his teeth.

Nancyboys and Fairies League (part 2)

I'm reliably informed by my wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed, that the correct term used when talking about the Dallas Cowboys is "Da Boys".

So consider that a correction.

And, great game for the Bengals, who beat the Redskins 24-17 tonight. Outstanding, even if it is only the preseason.


Nancyboys and Fairies League

I have, in the past, been fairly disrespectful of American Football.

For future reference, "American Football" is the term used to distinguish between NFL football, "real" football (or "soccer", as Americans know it), Football For Men With Hair On Their Testicles (or rugby) and Football For Men Who Can Crack Walnuts Between Their Testicles (or Aussie rules football - a game that makes the NHL look like an old ladies' tea party).

American Football is, as has been my oft-stated opinion, a game for people too scared to play a man's sport. Players strap on armour and helmets to play a sport which is, when all's said and done, rugby without the bone-crushing bits. They have rules against low tackles, tackles from behind, even rules against hitting certain players under certain circumstances. I don't care how bloody valuable the quarterback is, any player in rugby who expects to have rules against being "roughed" is clearly and definitely a nancyboy.

But, damn it all to hell, it is entertaining, and not just because of the cheerleaders, something sadly lacking from all three footballs mentioned above.

My wife is a Cowboys fan. So I've been watching and, with the new season looming, will be watching this year, too. I have kinda adopted the 'Boys by proxy and, with it, a dislike of the Eagles which existed even before T.O. and his "God wants me to win the Super Bowl" nonsense.

However, something English inside of me compells me to seek out a different kind of team to throw my voice behind.

Anyone conversant with football in general, and English international football in particular, will be familiar with the character of the English side. Nobody - especially not the English - expects us to do well. We are the whipping boys of the FIFA World Cup and the Euro Cup competitions. Sure, we show some promise early on. We usually make it through the opening games intact, even if it's only barely so. We might make it to the second round, or even to the dizzying heights of the quarter-finals. But ultimately, we'll fail. And everyone knows it. We're the outside bet, the almost-weres, the might-have-beens.

We're the Bengals.

I love the Bengals. Not only are they, geographically speaking, the closest I have to a "home" team now, but they have the coolest helmets, coolest shirts, coolest totem. They're the tigers and so fitting for someone who is an avid supporter of the Three Lions. And nobody expects the Bengals to do anything other than average, mediocre, okay or meh.

And, just as England isn't Belgium, the Bengals aren't the Browns.

So I'm throwing my support behind the big cats from Cincinnati and I'm watching this year's NFL season with a great deal of interest.

Just don't rub it in. Germany 2006 is just around the corner.

But, no matter what the implications of this shift in attitude towards American sports, two things will never happen:

The first is that I'll never accept that the winners of the Super Bowl - a competition open to 32 teams from the USA - deserve to carry the title "World Champions", seeing as any definition of such a phrase would have to include the concept of playing teams from other countries and - well - beating all of them. The Patriots are no more World Champions than I'm the World Champion of blogging beacuse mine's the best blog I post on.

The second is that I'll never watch baseball, a sport which should be banned under the Sports Should Not Suck Arse Act of 1968.

Well, it would, if such an act existed.

So there.

Go Bengals!


Those jackbooted fascists at the Department of Homeland Security

We've all heard the rumours. The Department of Homeland Security. A name to send shivers down the spine of any freedom-loving individual. Marching around with unconstitutional powers, grabbing anyone who steps out of line and throwing them into a 2ft by 3ft cell and beating them with rubber hoses. Michael Moore tells us - and it must, therefore, be true - that they are swooping in and arresting any foreign national who overstays their visa by as much as one single second, in midnight raids reminiscent of Communism at its worst, denying them access to lawyers, refusing to tell anyone where they are and threatening to arrest anyone who dares to speak their name.

Yeah, except it's bollocks.

I've been here over two years and, due to some very yawn-inducing financial problems, didn't manage to apply for my Green Card before my visa ran out. It was several months. So what did the fanatical brownshirts do? They were, er, helpful. I'll say that again. They were helpful. They were nice. They were friendly. They were, on the odd occasion or two, funny. They provided me with forms and offered any help I needed filling them in. They promised that this interview or that one would be scheduled within six to eight weeks and, unlike their British counterparts, didn't mean eight to ten months. Having had my final interview with - it has to be said - a very nice judge, they promised me my Green Card in six to eight weeks. And, again, it arrived.

Yeah, I'm British. Yeah, no terrorist connections here. But the rumours don't differentiate. I was told this before I came here - miss your visa date and get locked up. It never happened. Maybe the only people who are being investigated by the DHS are those with possible terrorist connections.

And isn't that what they are supposed to be doing?

Like any government organisation, the vast majority of people who work for the DHS are just ordinary folks, "working stiffs" is, I believe, the American term. People who, like almost everyone else on the planet, are just working to put food on the table, clothes on the kids and, increasingly, mp3s in the iPod. But to hear some on the internet tell it, all are merely hiding their swastikas until the day they can wear them openly.

It's kinda reassuring to see that the left can invent stories as well as the right...

Came down with Blogittis

Okay, so I finally went and did it. Caught that disease which may become viewed as a high point in the history of the Internet. Or possibly not. Blogging. Like I've got anything interesting to say.