Ironic, no?

I was about to come on here and write some lyrical praise of my new adopted hometown. Three years I've been living here and, as I was going to post, my impression is, overall, hugely favourable, especially when compared to the hole I used to live in.

And then some fucker keyed our new car.

New car. As in: less than a month old. As in: less than 200 miles on it. As in: tank's only been filled once.

In the colour that my wife, Mrs Doombreed, had to fight to get, because she just loves that particular shade of metallic blue.

Keyed, as in: some fuckhead dragged a key across the rear driver's side door.

Fuck the world.

Mrs Doombreed and I are so pissed right now.


The Descent

Poor movie. Really poor.

It started out fairly well. But then it went downhill.

The Descent claims to be the goriest movie ever made, and if it wasn't for a little flick called Braindead, I would agree. The gore is huge in this movie, but so over the top that it's just not believable.

We see blood gushing from even the most minor wounds, and one weird scene where there is literally a lake of blood.

There's some rambling sub-plot about marital infidelity and coping with loss, and some largely pointless character development that doesn't do much for the film.

This is not an intelligent horror movie. Nor does it fall into the category of "so bad it's good". But if all you want is a gory movie that occasionally makes you jump, you'll be mostly satisfied.

Doombreed rating: * *


Action Man

Time for a melancholy remembrance.

When I was growing up, I had some toys called Action Man, made by a company called Palitoy.

Action Man was fantastic. England's original action figure, and over the years a multitude of outfits were produced. My favourite was the SAS trooper, but I also had the Space Ranger Captain, a standard "soldier" figure, and, yes, no prejudice here, a WWII German army officer's uniform.

I even had young adult novels about Action Man.

Action Man changed over the years. His hands went from moulded plastic to rubber, so he could grip his stuff. He gained "eagle eyes", movable eyes operated by a lever on the back of his head, and he later gained the ability to speak, albeit via a pull-string operated device with around six or so phrases. He had different hair - all regulation military cut - and sometimes a beard, but always the same scar on his cheek.

Then came Action Force.

Action Force was simply a smaller scale Action Man. A lot of his outfits were represented, including that SAS trooper, which I then had in both scales. I had the Para, the Commando, the Frogman, the Ground Assault (although, one of my friends stole that one), the Mission Pilot, and the SAS Frogman. I also had the AF-3, a jeep with a roof that became a boat.

Later, Action Force was split into four forces. Q-Force, SAS force, Z-Force, and Space Force, and now we had an enemy force, the Red Shadows, led by the infamous Baron Ironblood.

And, it was fun. Their adventures were immortalised in a weekly comic called "Battle Action Force" (which was really an older comic - Battle - with a few Action Force stories thrown in).

Then, it all went to shit.

Action Force changed. Each figure had his own name. Multi-jointed figures who were previously available were repackaged and rebranded. The driver of the SAS jeep was renamed from "Stalker" to "Snake Eyes" and sold on his own. Quarrel, the rider of the Z-Force motorcycle was branded "Scarlett". Hunter was evicted from the Wolverine and replaced by some dude called "Ton-Up". Red Jackal was pulled from his Hyena and, against his will and through a lame storyline, forced to become Destro.

And Baron Ironblood went though the world's most ridiculous transformation to become "Cobra Commander".

Shortly thereafter, Action Force became G.I. Joe: The Action Force, and it wasn't long before they dropped the Action Force bit altogether.

And, like Opal Fruits and Marathon bars, Action Force were swallowed up and destroyed by American marketing gurus determined to rebrand the world in their image.

And just look at what they've done to Action Man!

Still, it's good to see some out there are keeping the faith.

Long live Action Man, and his little brothers, the Action Force. The kids today may not know your glory, but you helped me through my childhood and I'll never forget you.


Go Bengals!

At time of writing, the Bengals are handing a beating to the Green Bay Packers, 48-17, in their third preseason game.

So, with a 19-3 win over the Redskins, and a 44-31 win over the Bills, this makes for a nice precursor to the 2006 season.

And, at time of writing this sentence, the game is over and the 48-17 score is final.

A nice welcome back for our boy Carson Palmer.

Pluto vote 'hijacked' in revolt

Okay, remember how, just a few short days ago, astronomers voted to demote Pluto from a planet to a "dwarf planet"?

Well, it seems that some Pluto fans are getting their knickers in a twist over the vote.

And, with all the wearying inevitability of an early England exit from the World Cup, some bugger has decided to take the debate to the bumper.



We went to see Invincible today. Now, I'm no NFL fanatic, and I'm certainly no Philadelphia Eagles fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.

The year is 1976. The Eagles suck hard. They've just finished a horrifically bad season and a new head coach, Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear), is brought in to turn the team around.

This movie is the based-around-the-true-story story of Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg), a no-hope, no-shot, 30-year old bartender who turned up to an open try-out and impressed the head coach enough to be invited back to training camp.

Papale showed enough skill and determination that Vermeil gave him a shot in the regular team, and for three seasons, Papale was considered by many to be the heart of the team.

The movie cleverly recreates the actual football games going on in the season in question and the plays are (apparently) fairly well recreated. Some licence has, apparently, been taken with Papale's background and his performance, but Eagle's fans are satisfied with the result.

But more important than that, the movie works. Mrs Doombreed is, as I've mentioned, a Cowboys' fan, and - for those not in the know, the Cowboys are in the same division as the Eagles, and this is a huge rivalry - even she was pulling for Papale.

The movie, as its backdrop, shows how bad things were in Philadelphia at the time and, given that the Eagles were the only thing most people had going for them, why the fans were so angry at their team's performance.

It's a classic "feel-good" movie. It's the story of the underdog makes good, the losers fight back, the people nobody thought could succeed going out and succeeding.

I liked it. I really did.

Doombreed rating: * * * *

Catholic Church Gets It Wrong Again

Auntie Beeb carries a story about Artur Boroc, goalie for Celtic, who was cautioned for "offensive behaviour" during a match on the 12th February against Rangers. Boroc made several gestures to the crowd during the match which the Crown Office deemed to have "provoked alarm and crowd trouble and as such constituted a breach of the peace", and said it had taken action "based upon an assessment of behaviour, not one single act, which appeared to be directed at the crowd which was being incited by the behaviour and which caused the police to intervene and calm the crowd".

One of the gestures in question was Boroc crossing himself, the old Catholic "spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch" routine, which was viewed, along with the other gestures he was making, to be an insult and provocation towards Rangers' largely Protestant fans.

Of course, the Catholic Church went into overdrive and immediately put their foot in their mouth. Apparently, they're having a hissy fit because Boroc was cautioned for using "a gesture" (it was more than one) that is "simply religious in nature" (no, it's more than that, it's specifically Catholic in nature) and that Scotland had made this gesture "an offence" (no, it was the entire performance that was the offence, not just the Catholic gesture).

I guess it's to be expected - martyr complex and all that - but it just seems annoying that they've come out all indignant about their religion - the biggest, richest, most widespread and most powerful religion in the history of the world - being persecuted, especially when the persecution is 100% imaginary.

Still, as I said, it's to be expected, but it doesn't make it any less eyerolling for that.


Friday Rodent Blogging

Selene auditions for a part in next summer's blockbuster hit movie: Gerbils On A Plane. Samuel L. Jackson has not, at time of writing, signed on for this project.


The Votes Are In..

..and Pluto is no longer a planet.

Apparently, a group of astronomers got together in Prague and decided that we only have eight planets in our solar system.

Well, not quite. Pluto is the first celestial body to be included in a new category called "dwarf planets". So we have eight and one half planets.

Well, not quite. Pluto is joined by a rock which glorys in the name 2003 UB313, another big rock called Ceres, and Charon, Pluto's moon.

So eight and four half planets.

Quite what this does to the elegant mouse that sits under new potatoes remains to be seen.


China acts on funeral strippers

Okay, interesting news from China. Apparently it's quite common in some areas to have strippers at a funeral.

Nope, This is not a joke. Apparently, local belief is that the more people attend your funeral, the more you are honoured. Get some hot young things taking off their clothes, and people will attend. Seems logical, right?

Well, that's not the news. Lately, the Chinese authorities have been cracking down on what they call "obscene performances" (yeah, now why does that sound familiar?) and have banned them.

In a sadly usual non-twist, authorities are also encouraging people to snitch on their neighbours and have set up a hotline to allow them to do so with ease.

Because, as we all know, consenting adults watching consenting adults taking their clothes off is the single worst thing that can happen to a person.


Snakes On A Plane

Yes, Mrs Doombreed and I went to see Snakes On A Plane today.

First, let's talk about what's wrong with the movie:


Okay, now we turn to what's right.


This movie is unashamedly entertaining. The plot is, as far as it goes, pretty good. The characters are largely believable. The script is okay. The acting is okay.

But all of that is irrelevant. There are snakes on a plane. Snakes, to quote the man himself, on crack on a plane.

I really didn't think they made movies like this anymore. This was 100%, pure, unadulterated, unapologetic eye candy. The snakes were beautifully done. The deaths were shocking and horrific. There were multiple jump points. There was Samuel L. Jackson uttering the immortal line about motherfucking snakes on a motherfucking plane. There was no juvenile humour, no treating us, the audience, as too dumb to appreciate a good movie.

There were, sure, nitpicks. There was virtually no character development for many of the main characters. Jackson's character was an FBI agent. Just an FBI agent. He wasn't "the country's top FBI agent", he wasn't "an FBI agent on the eve of retirement", he wasn't "an FBI agent burned out from everything he's witnessed", he wasn't a Gulf War veteran, or a racist learning to appreciate white folk, he wasn't divorced* (we don't even know if he was married), he didn't have estranged kids he was lamenting over, he didn't have a drug or booze problem, there was no seeking redemption, no life-affirming voyages of self-discovery.

And, y'know, that's a refreshing change.

This movie has no chance of winning an Oscar, and will probably not get a single nomination. It makes no social comment, no big point. It doesn't deal with issues in a sensible, mature way. It does not explore the human condition, the boundaries of mind, the interaction of intellect, innerspace, the soul, karma, or the development of being. It makes no statement about the state of the world. It deals with nothing, tackles nothing.

It is one hundred and five minutes of pure cinematic entertainment.

You will be startled. You will be scared. You will be horrified. You will be grossed out. But you will be entertained.

Doombreed rating: * * * * * * (the elusive sixth star. This movie is that good)

*EDIT: Thanks to the diligence of Mrs Doombreed, I'm able to correct this before someone points it out. In fact, Jackson's character does state that he and his partner had been working together through "one failed marriage - each", so he was married and then divorced, but, unlike in, say, 16 blocks, this was a throwaway line and not central to the character.

30 pieces of wisdom to live by

Via email:

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Sex is like air -- it's not important unless you aren't getting any.

5. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

6. No one is listening until you fart.

7. Always remember you are unique -- just like everyone else.

8. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

9. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

10. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away, and you have their shoes.

11. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

12. Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

13. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

14. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

15. Some days you are the bug; some days you are the windshield.

16. Don't worry--It only seems kinky the first time.

17. Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

18. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

19. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

20. Duct tape is like the Force--It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

21. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

22. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

23. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

24. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

25. We are born naked, wet, and hungry, and get slapped on our ass...then things get worse.

26. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

27. There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness".

28. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.

29. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday...around age 11.

30. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager

Some time ago, I linked to a blog called "My Boring Best" (and, in an unforgivable oversight, forgot to add said blog to my blogroll), concerning a post about "Jimmigration".

Well, Jim has done it again, this time with a link to a hilarious short called "Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager"

Stop whatever you are doing, click that link, and go watch it.


Go now.


Touched By His Noodly Appendage

The Flying Spaghetti Monster, apparently feeling left out of all of the appearing-in-random-pieces-of-crap that various other deities are doing, decided to top them all with this amazing display.

Truly, we are all touched by His Noodly Appendage.


Hat tip to Princess Buttercup at AP.

Motherf**king Snakes on a Motherf**king Plane!

Below is a clip from The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, where Samuel L. Jackson guests to promote yesterday's hottest release, Snakes On A Plane:

There is something very encouraging in seeing an actor as enthusiastic for a role as Mr Jackson is.

Snakes On A Plane
has spawned a veritable cornucopia of movies on YouTube, ranging from the bad to the worse. From parody trailers like Alligators On A Escalator (sic) to shorts like Snakes In A Van, to the just plain weird Snakes on a Plane! (parody). But, as always, the best will be the one which draws on outdated computergame references and comes up with All Your Snakes Are Belong To Us.


Friday Rodent Blogging

Selene tours her kingdom in the Rolling Ball Of Death, the chariot from which she will be launching her campaign of world domination.


A year of being Legal

One year ago to the day, I posted this.

Yep, that's right. My blog is, today, one year old. One year of my peculiar brand of wierdness going out into the world. One year of jokes, links, rants, pictures of rodents, new bits, old bits, funny stuff, and not-so-funny stuff.

I appear to have attracted a few regular readers. Certainly, a few of the same locations keep on popping up on the mapstats page.

That's right, Big Brother is alive, and his name is Doom.

I know that at least one would be one or other of my mates in England, who apparently miss me so much they need to check up on my blog for all the news.

Well, regular readers or not, I'd like to thank you for tuning in and wasting your time here. We know you have a choice when you waste time, so thank you for choosing us.

A big thanks to Shadow Blog, Englishman Turning American, Bligby, Diamond Geezer, and 3vil g3nius, all of whom either have me in their blogrolls or have linked to me for one reason or another.

Here's to many more years to come.


Absence of evidence

Note: This post was started a few weeks ago, and then consigned to the 'save as draft' graveyard. A conversation at work prompted me to drag it out and finish it.


I caught the tail end of a programme on WLJC, the religious network, concerning humans and dinosaurs coexisting.

At first, it was promising. A guest, one Dr Kurt Wise, was talking to the host, one Dwight Nelson. Nelson asked Wise about what evidence existed concerning this idea. Wise was clear - no such evidence exists. He even went as far as to shoot down some of the more famous creationist trophies - supposed evidence of human/dinosaur coexistence which are usually faked or are badly misinterpreted bits of rock - with casual ease.

But then came the change that I should really have known was coming.

This paleontologist, this alleged man of science, then went on to explain that the total lack of evidence is irrelevant because there is 'scriptural evidence' of coexistence. As if that means anything.

But what evidence? The bible never mentions dinosaurs. Ever. Not even once. That big huge frikkin' lizards were stomping around the landscape warrants not a single line in this book that is supposed to account the entire history of the world. And that, it's plain to see, is because dinosaurs were unknown when it was written. Just like science fiction of a hundred-or-so years ago often depicted people walking around on the moon breathing freely. Science just did not know there was no atmosphere up there, just as the writers of the manuscripts that became the bible were unaware of the huge and varied history of the Earth.

Wise's argument was typically theistic.

We know that the dinosaurs existed once. We know that they no longer do. Ergo, they died out. Death didn't exist in the world until humans committed sin. Ergo, dinosaurs and humans must have existed together.

Never mind that there is no actual, real, scientific evidence of such a coexistence, never mind that the very scriptures he is relying on make no mention of such a coexistence.

However, I don't want to waste time debunking this piece of idiotic non-logic. What I wanted to write about connects both of the two points in the paragraph above, that of lack of evidence.

'Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence' is the psuedo-scientific 'rule' which is often quoted, especially when retorting to the charge that the evidence does not support the coexistence assertion.

The problem is that it's true - sort of. The way it was taught to me at school was 'absence of proof is not proof of absence.'

The difference is vastly important. Scientists must be cautious of tossing around the word 'proof' too easily. Proof is something science rarely deals with. Science most often simply works on evidence.

As a good example, consider the solar system. Whilst science has gathered so much evidence that the sun is in the centre and the planets - including the Earth - orbit around it that it would be perverse in the extreme to claim anything else, science has not yet 'proved' this to be true. The orbital model of the solar system is a theory. A theory which is supported by a mountain of extremely persuasive evidence and backed up by every possible observation, but a theory nonetheless.

So, does absence of evidence ever mean anything?

Yes. Oh yes. Often, absence of evidence can be every bit as meaningful as the presence of evidence, especially when one can reasonably expect to find such.

For example, as above, The Bible is supposed to be an accounting of the entire history of the world. We know dinosaurs existed, so if both are true, one has a reasonable expectation that these creatures would be mentioned somewhere. Anywhere. Big lizards. Big honking lizards. Big honking lizards, some of which would view humans as a tasty snack. Big honking lizards eating people and crushing things every time they sit down. Oh yeah, we can be reasonably sure that any real eyewitness account of the history of the planet would mention a few of those.

Or the event that - theory has it - wiped them out. We have proof that, many thousands of years ago, this planet often got hit by Very Large Rocks From Space. Some of these VLRFSs were so huge that the dust and ash the impact threw up blotted out the sun for months.

And the bible does not mention these.

On a more scientific note, absence of evidence is meaningful in many ways. When using an ammeter to measure electric current, a measurement of 0 amps is taken to mean 'no current is flowing'. Nobody in their right mind would declare 'there may or may not be a current which we cannot detect for some reason (possibly through Intelligent Electron Moving) so we cannot say for certain that there is no current.'

No, there's no current. Get over it.

There is a complete lack of evidence for a trillion-ton bar of chocolate orbiting Saturn. Should we assume, just to be on the safe side, that such a chocolate bar exists?

This post is dedicated to the Invisible Pink Unicorn, bless her holy hooves.


Gimme Your Stuff

Gimme Your Stuff is a fascinating blog about people from different countries swapping stuff with each other.

The lastest trade was between Japan and New Jersey, before that, England and Illinois. People just put stuff up for trade, virtually anything and everything. Okay, it's mostly candy, but there are some awesome trades like when Dave from Perth and Lisa from New York exchanged beers.

Can there be a higher calling for a website than the free and frank exchange of beer?


We went to see Pulse yesterday, and it was good.

It's basically your "technology comes back to bite us in the arse" storyline, but from a fresh angle.

On friday, Josh (Jonathan Tucker) killed himself. Two days later, he sends his friends a message.

Yep, that's in the trailer. And it gets wierder from there.

Things - and they can only be described as "things" - are appearing and sucking the life out of people. It seems to be related to something Josh found whilst hacking another computer, and, from there, to some experiments being run with a new communications system.

What sets this apart from similar movies is the global horror. This isn't just one set of kids being terrorised, nor one town, or one city. These things are everywhere. The whole human race is under attack.

The effects are outstanding. The acting's about as good as can be expected.

Okay, so there's the good.

Here's the bad:

The story seems to move in fits and starts. It's almost like somebody made a great 3-hour movie and then let a monkey edit it down to an hour and a half. And there's Dexter (Ian Somerhalder) who just appears in the middle of the movie. The only background we get on him is that he bought Josh's computer. But why he then joins the group is glossed over.

The movie shows a bleak vision of humanity faced with an enemy we can't fight, forced to run and hide.

Fill up on the red tape.

This movie is unpopular with a lot of people because it requires some thought. You have to understand where the creatures are coming from, what they want, what they do to you, why they can't be fought, and just what this means for humanity.

Be prepared for something like Resident Evil or Silent Hill, but with a few more book smarts.

Doombreed rating: * * * *

Spoiler (highlight to read):

The creatures are using the signal from the Wi-Fi system to move about. So, at the end, when the narrator explains that the cities belong to the creatures, and the humans are left in the "dead zones" between them, one can't help but wonder whether any of the military dudes we see have ever heard of an EMP weapon, which would completely neutralise the system for long enough to manually destroy the towers.

Hell, even a relatively small nuke (by modern standards) exploded in the atmosphere would produce an electronics-frying EMP pulse over much of the continental United States.

Okay, so nuking home is a little bit of a drastic measure, but to prevent the creatures from killing the entire world? Yeah, I'd take whatever crap one bomb would make.


Public Service Announcement

Ah, this is fun.

Microsoft have discovered a wee bug in its lastest operating systems which can allow hackers to take complete and utter control of your computer with almost laughable ease. Nice.

If you're running Windows 2000 or later, amble on over to the MS update page and download at your leisure.

Of course, if you're one of the tinfoil hat brigade, you might be intertested to know that the US Department of Homeland Security advises the installation of these updates ASAP.

Oh dear, I can hear conspiracy theorists' heads popping all over the nation..

David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff - "Jump In My Car"

It's late, so here's today's lame link:

"Jump In My Car" is what appears to be a sometimes unintentionally funny video by the original slo-mo runner himself, David Hasselhoff.

It also features KITT.

We like KITT, here at Legal Alien.

Yes, we like The Hoff, too, but if you tell anyone we said so, we may have to kill you.

The Hoff has a pretty successful singing career in, of all places, Germany. Anyone who, after watching this video, still does not know why his career never took off in America or England needs to report to their nearest re-education facility for an immediate session with a cricket bat.

Hat tip to Justin.


Friday Rodent Blogging

"No pictures! No pictures!"

Selene decides to veto this week's FRB.


24 held in terror plot

I guess I can't blog today without mentioning the situation in England.

I heard the news from a coworker this morning, and then checked the Beeb to get the details, because the US television news is collectively soiling itself. The coverage of these events is near-hysterical and often contradictory. I caught a report on FOX which claimed that the terrorists had been apprehended sitting on the 'planes with the bombs in their luggage!

I even caught the tail end of a report about how people at some airport (whose name I did not catch) were being searched at security but not before getting on the 'plane. This, claimed the anchor, meant that people could - gasp - buy things on the concourse and take them on the 'plane! It makes a mockery of security!

(Unless one is resonably sure that the shops in the airport aren't selling explosives. I dunno. Maybe American airports have more than the usual duty-frees.)

The US color-coded terror alert chart thingy is up to red for the first time ever.

I trust my countrymen (and women) are taking the developments with our customary calm and unruffledness (is that a word? It is now) and aren't spending the night jumping at shadows.

P.s. is anyone else seeing the strange side here?

Pre-9/11 Al Qaeda were known more for their own-goals than anything else. They used all the down and dirty bomb tricks. Trucks with fertiliser bombs, grenades on alarm clocks, stolen explosives, mining or industrial explosives. They were strictly IED.

Now they're coordinating massive plots involving dozens of individuals and hard-to-detect liquid explosives?

This is some James Bond shit, here. A far cry from one idiot trying to set fire to his shoes.

There are atheists in foxholes

A recent edition of the comic strip Doonesbury repeated a popular saying amongst Christians, nameley that "there are no atheists in foxholes".

The saying is supposed to mean that atheist turn to God when it really matters. I guess it's taken as confirmation of the oft-stated position that atheists know that God is real, but refuse to acknowledge him.

Now, personally, if I knew that God were real, and that my lack of belief were damning me to an eternity of hellfire, I wouldn't be an atheist.

But I know God is not real, so I am.

This position is echoed by the spurious tales of atheist's deathbead conversions. As an example, Christian apologists to this day tell the tale of how noted scientist, popular television personality, and gentle atheist Carl Sagan turned to God in his final hours.

Which would be a harsh indictment of atheism if it were true. Anyone who believes it should read Billions & Billions, the book Sagan was writing when he died. The final chapter was written by Sagan's widow, and is an emotional account of her husband's final days. She even mentions the death-bed conversion fantasies that she's heard since his death.

But the fact that these stories aren't true - and the "atheists in foxholes" is disproved by the military group called, believe it or not, "Atheists In Foxholes", and there is even a nice monument to Godless soldiers - hides a deeper problem.

If the "atheists in foxholes line" were true, then it says way more about Christians than it does about atheists.

A battlefield is the most stressful, horrific place possible. Placing a person in such a position, where their death is both horrific and, quite probably, horrifically imminent, leads to almost unimaginable stress. There's a reason PTSD is common amongst veterans.

So, what the saying means is that, an atheist, placed in the most stressful position imaginable, under mind-numbing stress and bowel-loosening terror, becomes that which a Christian is in the comfort of their own armchair.

An atheist, robbed of his mental faculties, becomes a theist.

Yeah, that's not something I'd be smug about, were I a christian.

Bender Costume Details

You, too, can look like everyone's favourite obnoxious robot!

Bender Costume Details

Or not.

Troops in Iraq 'under-equipped'

From the Beeb comes the not-so-staggering news that British troops in Iraq are 'under-equipped':

British troops fighting in Iraq are under-equipped and overstretched, a group of MPs has warned.

The all-party defence committee said the soldiers needed more helicopters and better-protected patrol vehicles to shield them from roadside bombs.

Committe members visited Iraq in June and said they were disturbed by the deficiencies they had seen.

Yes, this is worrying. Our boys are out fighting a war, and they're getting stiffed on the bill.

But this is not new. British forces are always underequipped and overstretched. The bean counters always expect the troops to do a full day's work on a half day's pay. It's been like that for centuries.

And yet, the troops always do what the British army does best, they make do and come out on top, which is why the bean counters get away with it.

The MPs were particularly concerned with the use of Snatch Land Rovers, which have been deemed 'ineffective' against the more sophisticated roadside bombs.

Mr Browne ordered an urgent review of them after a number of soldiers were killed.

Colonel Bob Stewart, who was a British commander with the UN forces during the civil war in Bosnia, agreed with the committee about the Land Rovers.

'It's been appalling that so many of our soldiers have suffered as a result of roadside bombs and these Snatch Land Rovers,' he said.

'The Land Rovers were not designed for the job they're doing now.'

Of course they weren't. The Land Rover was designed as a light transport. Resisting explosions requires either loading it up with so much armour that it can't move or, for preference, using a vehicle designed for the bloody job. Like, oh, I don't know, those frikkin' AFVs that the army is supposed to have.

But no, Land Rovers are cheaper to buy and run, so Land Rovers we'll use.

Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Nick Harvey said equipment and capability shortages in Iraq could 'prove fatal and must be urgently addressed'.

But will they?

How many more families will have to lose their sons and brothers because the MoD wants to save a few quid?


Advice for a NonRaptured World

Advice for a NonRaptured World is a website that's causing me some frowning.

It's dedicated to giving advice on how the rest of us can survive when Jesus returns and raptures all the good Christians to heaven with him.

It includes advice on inheriting from someone who has been raptured (although, inhereting from someone who is not dead might pose some problems, no?) and tips on which stocks and shares will increase in value in a world run by the AntiChrist.

What's causing the frowning is the question:

Is this for real or is this a parody?

In the light of certain equally whacky sites - like the godhates series and The Rapture Index - it seems possible.

But really??


Wierd News

Long-standing, science-hating, evidence-denying, fundy nutbar Pat Robertson reverses his position on Global Warming.

Okay, so it's not exactly news news, having happened late last week, but still..

What is going on?

Remember, remember..

Here are some awesome V for Vendetta goodies.

And some Snakes On A Plane stuff.

Not to mention some great The Da Vinci Code stuff. I especially like the Illuminati ambigram shirt.

Yes, today is my day to introduce you to shit you don't need, shouldn't buy, but want to anyway.

Here is a better version, IMO, of the ambigram.


Oh Dear...

Your Job Dissatisfaction Level is 64%

Your job is a total bummer, and probably the worst job you've ever had.
Your co-workers stink. Your boss is a jerk. And your company is probably in trouble.
Think about finding a new job quickly, even if it's just a not-so-great transition job.
You've got to get out of there as quickly as you can!

A little taste of home

Mmmmmmmmm... real beer...


Friday Rodent Blogging

Selene is practicing for the first season of Gerbil Idol.


V for Vendetta

Mmmm.. Mrs Doombreed just bought me a copy of V for Vendetta on DVD.

Special, two disc version, no less. I'll lose myself for a few hours watching that, no doubt.


Evolution’s foes lose ground in Kansas

MSNBC reports on the good news that actual science is pulling ahead of superstition in one of the key battlegrounds for the future of American education.

The Kansas state Board Of Education, which approved changes to the state's teaching standards that basically redefined science to allow for the teaching of the so-called Intelligent Design Theory, changed slightly, becoming more middle-of-the-road, and several members who openly fought the teaching of evolutionary theory in schools lost seats.

Pat at Red State Rabble, however, offers a reminder that this is an ongoing fight.

Still, it's encouraging.

I know it's not my fight - I don't even live in Kansas - but it's nice to see that people still put reality above politics.


Snakes On A Plane

Snakes On A Plane is due for release on 18th of this month.

If you've been living under a rock for the past year, you may not have heard of the incredible hype surrounding what has become a cult classic before anyone has even seen it.

Terry Pratchett has a joke that crops up in his books from time to time, where one character will say "hey, things could be worse", to which another character will reply "how?", and the original retorts with "well, there could be snakes in here with us".

They made a movie out of that joke.

For those who haven't ventured out from under their rocks for a while, the plot is simple. There's this plane. And there are snakes on it.

The hows, whys and wherefores are irrelevant. There's this plane. And there are snakes on it.

Notice how the concept - that there are snakes on a plane - is so ultimately awe-inspiring that the poster doesn't even name the film's star - Samuel L. Jackson - because who needs stars? There's this plane. And there are snakes on it.

We can close Hollywood now. All the movies have been done. After this there are no more movies to make. No movie can possibly match this for sheer whatthefuckery.

I am going to see this movie. I am going to buy this movie when it comes out on DVD.

There's this plane...