Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Science and Religion

Current Biology: "According to a study published last year by the University of Minnesota, Americans distrust atheists more than any other minority group, including homosexuals, recent immigrants or Muslims."


But, the Englishman to the rescue of American politics.....

"The Democrats and Republicans may be preparing for battle in next year's presidential election but Richard Dawkins is on a new battle bus promoting atheism. (Photo: www.richarddawkins.net)

Dawkins appeared as one of the stars of the Atheist Alliance convention in Crystal City, Virginia, last month. He admitted that he was a little bit hesitant about being an Englishman talking to Americans and he showed “a certain amount of deference” when asked about US politics. “But I think that this country is so powerful and what goes on politically here is so enormously influential, the rest of the world is entitled to have a say.”

Although religious groups denounce him on websites and radio talk shows, he has not received abuse at public meetings; religious people tended not to turn up — “which in a way is a shame”, he said."

Yeah, basically because even the biggest religious zealots know that they would, as an old friend would say, be ripped a new asshole.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

November 11, 2007

It began a very rushed, but somber, wet day. Remembrance Day. The British day that memorialized the end of WWI: when the guns fell silent on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918. We traversed train obstacles and crowded London streets to watch the marching armed forces place their poppy wreaths at the Cenotaph. Then we meandered towards some guards for some photo ops and found ourselves heading in the direction of Buckingham Palace, so we went with it. I got a refill on my lavender scent at the Queen’s shop and we walked on, being led by our tummies now. We decided to alight at Leicester Square for a little romantic Mexican treat. It was the sight of one of our first dinners in England and one of the few places to get that ethnicity food in England. My, I felt so satisfied with our day, especially after the nachos and Mexican melon drink, a burrito with sides of beans and rice with guacamole and salsa, and topped off with some fried ice cream. I popped a fuzzy toothbrush in my mouth and then we rolled on.

But we didn’t make it that far. Yards from the restaurant-front the European premiere of Beowulf was kicking off—fire, furred drumming Viking men, big screen, red carpet and all. And then the stars came out. We watched as Neil Gaiman, Crispin Glover, and Anthony Hopkins strolled their way down to the Vue theater. Then Ray Winstone graced us with his gentlemanly presence. He kindly autographed a paper for Noel and called her a “Sweetheart” before generously continuing on to sign his name for a good portion of the onlookers. Then the (embarrassing) shrieking began. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie emerged from the just arrived Mercedes and immediately became the center of attention. They waffled this way and that, signing for the demanding crowds as they went….until they drifted to our corner. When Brad spotted Noel, he stopped, took the notepad she offered, and after signing his initials collected Angelina in order to do the same. He pointed to Noel and she flashed a brilliant smile before autographing the notebook and handing it back to Noel. Brad Pitt is a good guy.

(Paul has an even better picture of Brad pointing at Noel to get Angelina to sign...)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The sweet moment

The sweet, sweet moment of finally being able to flush the toilet with a button after weeks of using a bucket....was lost so quickly when my glasses dropped from my face, bounced off my 5-year-old, and then straight into the bog....