From a story this summer.

Discussion (121)¬

  1. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    I’m sure many truly resent becoming priests, but to repent would be like a mobster leaving the Mafia; no more protection from the law, no more blind-eyes being turned from their – ahem – more frowned-upon proclivities, and a whole host of former colleagues lining up to stab ’em in the back.

  2. David Amies says:

    Bull’s eye, Author. It is as fatuous to forgive someone for being gay as to forgive them for being tall, red headed or left handed. On the other hand, they chose to become a priest and ‘there’s the rub’!

  3. Alfie Noakes says:


  4. Necessary Evil says:

    I think there’s something wrong here. Surely, if forgiveness is required it should be for becoming a priest in the first place.

  5. Joe Martin says:

    I think that was the point of the strip.

  6. What Dave Amies said. Another great punch line, Author.

    Everybody is jumping on the praise the pope band wagon, including apparently Time Magazine which has declared him Man of The Year. I see what he’s doing as simple marketing, an attempt to staunch the exodus from his barbaric and dying religion. I’ll be impressed when he tells the American bishops to stop meddling in womens’ reproductive health and tells the El Salvador fossils to allow women carrying a foetus with no brain to abort the doomed collection of cells.

  7. Acolyte, I left a comment on the previous thread in response to your last post there.

  8. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Atheists are not impressed by humanity
    They preach rejection, denial and insanity
    Atheists have to stop, think and be cool
    When spontaneous, they tend to drool
    Over phoney white wash they use to cover their vapid vanity.

  9. omg says:


    From the article “Baby born to El Salvador woman denied abortion dies after C-section” :
    “The 22-year-old woman, known only as Beatriz for privacy reasons, underwent the operation in the afternoon after 27 weeks of pregnancy, the ministry said. Her baby girl was born without a brain.”

    If the baby didn’t have a brain, what is the point to not perform an abortion? If it have no brain, it is not an human yet. You will not cause it any harm nor any suffering.

    Now, they perform a caesarean. What is less stressful /harmful for the woman, an abortion or a caesarean? In any case the baby will die…

    When there is strong law that forbid abortion at any cost, you can be sure there is a religion behind it. That is just one way the religion are so harmful.

  10. Old Johnson says:

    If anyone reads this : you really should read to the very, very end.
    Hope is not entirely trapped in the box, she let some out into the world.

    Darwin: that’s a nice piece but neither long enough nor offensive enough. Some of the comments come close and Mr. Minchin’s polite little ditty is nearly on target but the pope, every pope, has enabled, condoned, protected and supported child molesters and child rapists for two thousand years. Every single one of them. Sometimes two of them at once. Many of those popes were themselves child raping priests. Many of the cardinals and bishops that aid them in protecting child raping priests are and were child rapists. These are not libellous assertions from an atheist [Besides the truthfulness of the facts you don’t know whether I am a raving, frothing atheist or a devout something] they are facts of public record. In more than one jurisdiction. The Catholic Church and the Vatican and the Vatican See are criminal conspiracies to mass, gang and serial child rape, molestation and abuse on a global and historical scale.
    If that were a country and not a religion we would have supported any other nation in history that fought it to the death.
    The Vatican is one of the richest organisations on the planet. Its wealth dwarves that of many real countries. It could
    easily pay for the medical treatment of every HIV/AIDS patient on the globe and still be able to afford condoms and caps to help prevent the spread. It could sell those grandiose, draughty, obsolete idolatrous, idol-filled temples to Mammon and build hospitals, schools, libraries and shopping malls on the grounds, and make a vast profit that it could use for other good causes.
    They will never do any of this. They will never stop protecting child rapists.
    Mr. Minchin is right but he does not go anywhere near far enough.
    Every single priest in the Roman Catholic church is and has been for two millennia, complicit in aiding and abetting mass, serial and gang rapes of children by the tens of millions. All of them.
    The whole edifice is rotten to the core.
    But apart from that the present pope’s probably not much worse than Saloth Sar.

  11. Old Johnson says:

    OldJohnson ” I am a raving, frothing ” Bugger, there should have been a “close bold” after the “am”. And an “open bold” before the “easily”.

    Author, edit function, please? Pretty please.

  12. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Old Johnson says
    Author, edit function, please? Pretty please.

    We’ve tried. Carl knows we’ve tried, but our mistakes remain for posterity lest we should get above our station and claim infallibility or some-such, and as we all know, those who claim to be infallible really annoy those of us who are 😉

  13. Now that’s what I call a good punch line!

  14. Old Johnson says:

    DH: you say a collection of cells without a brain can’t survive? Should we start the priest and politician jokes now? Or would that be in poor taste?

    Ophelia: My punchline about Popey being as nice as Sar or Acolyte’s? If we include people like “Baetriz” and the suicides I seriously wonder who kills more a pope or a Sar?

    Nassar: if I am a being who is adult enough not to need a big comfy daddy to protect me from the dark I would contend that this would make me a better and more human being than a religion that advises us to not suffer witches to live, among other horrors. And I would not humbly at all suggest that vanity is assuming you have all the answers not that you deny having them because they are un-have-able by their very nature.
    Just as an example, one that has been mentioned in this column, I neither know nor opine whether abortion a foetus is justifiable under any circumstances or even on its carrier’s whim. Religious “leaders” have the gall, the stupidity and the sheer vanity to state their opinion as fact and to insist we go along with it. They even allow the murders of anyone who disagrees with this, the murders of yet another class of “witches”. That is not vanity but thinking that one single book among millions may not be the only truth is?
    I suspect you do not know what “vanity” means.

  15. Old Johnson says:

    How can the same species who can do things like this:
    do all the things we find so evil?
    Like protect serial child rapists.

  16. Chiefy says:

    Old Johnson, “Should we start the priest and politician jokes now? Or would that be in poor taste?” Indeed, it would. What are we waiting for?

    A priest was being honored at his retirement dinner after 25 years in the parish. A leading local politician and member of the congregation was chosen to make the presentation and to give a little speech at the dinner.

    However, he was delayed, so the priest decided to say his own few words while they waited:

    “I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television set and, when questioned by the police, was able to lie his way out of it. He had stolen money from his parents, embezzled from his employer, had an affair with his boss’s wife, taken illegal drugs, and gave VD to his sister. I was appalled.

    But as the days went on I learned that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people.”…

    Just as the priest finished his talk, the politician arrived full of apologies at being late. He immediately began to make the presentation and gave his talk:

    “I’ll never forget the first day our parish priest arrived,” said the politician. “In fact, I had the honor of being the first person to go to him for confession.”

  17. John M says:

    @ Old Johnson
    Perhaps OB is referring to the barmaids punchline in frame 4

  18. Hobbes says:

    That a brilliant! I’ll be using that one.

  19. John M says:

    Or “barmaid’s” even

  20. omg says:

    Winter is coming. We enter a period where the poetry is not worth reading…

  21. omg says:

    Wrong smiley it should be 😉

  22. Mary2 says:

    Author, very, very nice!

  23. Yes, I meant Author’s punchline, aka the barmaid’s. Commenters are all very well but they’re not Author!

  24. J and M had a starring part on the Today programme this morning (Wed the 11th).

  25. Second Thought says:

    Good one Author; it made me laugh out loud.

  26. Old Johnson says:

    Ophelia: that’s what I thought but I had to ask.
    I’m not sure the barmaid’s remark was a punchline. It is the sort of comment I would have expected from any consistently good thinker. And it is the sort of thought that would be expected from an opponent who has consistently tried to make J&M think by poking them with a stick and who consistently fails to accomplish her mission.
    While humorous in context, I would not have thought humour was her first and only intent.
    In addition, barmaid does not have to work at being funny. The simple introduction of logic and reason into J&M’s tight, limited little world is enough in itself to be funny. She has a far easier time of it than most stand-up comedians.(Though she possibly works longer hours.) Her material (Author’s material through the barmaid) is sitting there waiting for her in every sentence her more limited opponents speak.
    Acolyte, on the other hand, has to work to be funny. And he has to produce funnies that barmaid has not done. He’s the second act and coming on after such a strong performer as barmaid makes Acolyte’s task many times more difficult. He should be very much commended when he manages to amuse us with his wit and originality.
    Meanwhile, I am a genius at comedic timing and phrasing.
    Which is not a shock as I’m a genius in every field, town, city and interstellar habitat.
    I even manage typographical slips just so I can produce intricate jests at my own expense in the correction to them. Yet I am unappreciated in my time.
    Ah well, even such lesser yet still great lights as Groucho Marx were oftentimes under-estimated by their audience when they strove for the perfect self mockery. It’s a hard life being so magnificent, though the actual being magnificent does come so very easily to me.
    Were I not such a very nice person it is even possible that my magical wondrousness would annoy. As it is, it must be ever so nice to know me even for a brief spell.

    I wonder, is wishing J a “merry Christmas” in good taste or should we instead be offering wishes for a happy birthday? Certainly the “many happy returns” would seem a little redundant. And I wonder if he is slightly jealous of the sacredness of Mo’s Mawlid? Just to be fair, shouldn’t barmaid decorate for both?

  27. foundationist says:

    I find the euphoria surrounding pope Francis rather interesting. It shows how low the standards for popes really are. Imagine anybody in any other public position saying things like “Of course we think homosexuality is a terrible thing, but we might also want to talk about other things for a change.” Would he be hailed as a modernizer and reformer? Not even in the republican party! The only reason people like this pope is that he is far better then the horrible person people expect the pope to be. I would give him that, by pope standards he is a decent person, but only by pope standards.

  28. Undeluded says:

    Old Johnson – now I know what awesome humility feels like. I think that from now on you are more worthy than me to say: “Until yesterday I had but one flaw – my modesty! Today I am perfect!” 🙂

  29. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble
    When I’m perfect in every way
    I can’t wait to look in the mirror
    ‘cos I get better looking each day.
    To know me is to love me
    I must be one Hell of a man
    Oh Lord it’s so hard to be humble
    But I’m doing the best that I can.

  30. ottebrain says:

    Why would you need to forgive them?

    Whole point of the strip I know but still the very fact that they apparently need forgiveness riles me…=(

  31. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    ottebrain, homosexuality is not a choice and doesn’t involve telling others how they should live their lives; it doesn’t prey on the sick, the weak, the poor, or the desperate, and so requires no forgiveness.
    Quite the opposite to choosing to join the priesthood.

  32. Jerry M says:

    I am not a fan of Pope Francis, but he didn’t say gay priests should be forgiven. If I can accept the news stories as written, he said he is not one to judge. That is a different story.

  33. Dan says:

    This is probably more relevant to the previous strip.
    Please place your irony meter behind an appropriate irony damping shield to avoid damage before clicking the link:

    “Santa is not real says vicar”

  34. Mary2 says:

    Foundationist, I so agree. The double standard is amazing – we let religious organisations (who are supposed to be BETTER than the rest of us) get away with stuff that is so far below expected standards of human behaviour for the rest of us. Protecting child-rapists, stock-piling wealth without paying taxes, and being commended for saying stuff like ‘Yes, you will still burn in hell for all eternity because you are an abomination, but we should stop talking about it quite so much because it is not up to us to judge …’

    Ottebrain, we ALL need forgiveness. Humans are wretched and unworthy and even a tiny baby is sinful and despicable without a human sacrifice and daily begging a god for mercy.

    AOS, I’m quite happy to believe that gay sex may indeed be a choice or a mix of nature, nurture and circumstances. Either way, the ’cause(s)’ is irrelevant. I find that when people defend gays because ‘it is not a choice’ there is often a kind of implicit ‘if it was a choice it would be bad and we could legitimately be against them but, as it is, gays are like people with disabilities: it might be unfortunate but it is not a choice so we can’t hold it against them.’

  35. Barr-the-Door says:

    Dan : “Santa is not real says vicar”.
    And saints are?
    We can’t ask a fat bugger in fake red furs for pressies but we can ask dead guys who got stuck with arrows sixteen centuries ago?
    There’s no workshop full of happy midgets at the North Pole (with a heating bill that’s just got to be in the National Debt regions) but there are pearly gates and unwed mothers raped by aliens and forced to breed hybrid bastard offspring who get nailed to sticks? (Who was it who came up with the unwed mother being raped meme? That’s a classic.)
    There’s no flying reindeer but there are alate robots so badly programmed that they can “rebel” and turn “evil”?
    If a homophobic, baby-raping misogynist can be made a demi-god by a council of like minded child molesters then why can’t a living slab of venison have evolved LEDs in its nose?
    One insane fairy tale’s as good as another and at least Santa’s helpers don’t rape children.
    I’d far rather support a Santa religion (even if it meant buying Coca-cola) (I almost typed “c-ke” but that may have been misconstrued and been followed by black helicopters) that makes people happy for a couple of weeks a year than some satanic cult that deifies baby-raping anti-science mass-murderers and paedophiliac priests.
    Santa Time (renamed “Christmas” by the bad guys) is fun and bright and sparkly and a warm cave in the middle of Winter full of love and leftover- turkey soup. What do the Catholics offer that’s even a millionth as nice and warm?
    Chilly clouds and draughty dresses and wailing women harping on.
    We should take back our original Winterfest, Santa Time, reclaim it for the good guys and all the nice people.
    Keep the Christ out of Christmas.
    And the rest of the year. Hey, that’s kind of catchy.

    The most ludicrous aspect of the priest’s fiasco is that he apologised for ruining Christmas. He spoilt one fairy tale by regaling his audience with one involving the reconstruction and resurrection of chopped up dead people then had the stupidity to support the parents in their support for the Santa story, a fairy tale that blatantly contradicts much of his church’s dogma and institutionalised thievery and child molestation. He’s not only an idiot and an unthinking ogre and a prat he’s also a hypocrite who won’t support his own army of darkness when the chips are down.
    Not really the stern stuff martyrs like Saint Nicci are made of. I doubt we’ll be asked to pray to Saint Tatty in a century or two.
    The very least he should have done was to have stuck to his dogma.
    But that would have cost him votes… sorry, donations.

  36. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    AOS, I’m quite happy to believe that gay sex may indeed be a choice or a mix of nature, nurture and circumstances. Either way, the ’cause(s)’ is irrelevant. I find that when people defend gays because ‘it is not a choice’ there is often a kind of implicit ‘if it was a choice it would be bad and we could legitimately be against them but, as it is, gays are like people with disabilities: it might be unfortunate but it is not a choice so we can’t hold it against them.’

    You know, Mary, I’ve never thought of that aspect of it before, the comparison I’ve always had in mind being more akin to skin colour or nationality, but now you’ve said it, it’s so bleedin’ obvious. I do assure you, though, that if I have been making tacit suggestions of ‘it’s wrong/bad but they can’t help it’, it has been inadvertent rather than implicit. Thank you for the heads-up, you’ve just made me a little less thoughtless. 🙂

  37. Old Johnson says:

    BtD: “Keep the christ out of Christmas”. Cool. Tee-shirts and posters?
    Perhaps also “Keep the christ out of OUR Christmas” and “Keep the christians out of OUR Christmas”.
    Written over a santa-witch flying on a broom with the brush leading.

    AoS, Mary2: it never occurred to me to wonder why you love who you love. Chemicals, nature, nurture, disease, training, environment or lack of better choices, who cares? Why would it matter?
    I’m not opposed to priests burning homosexuals (or heterosexuals) because they are unable or unwilling to change whom they love. I’m opposed to priests burning them because they are PEOPLE. I’d dislike them burning any class of people. No matter whether their new “witches” are other priests, heathens, people with a good tan or any other group, it’s the bigotry that does the harm.

    I can’t stand bigots. We should burn them all …
    Smilie for irony needed, now.

    So long as you and your love are happy, it’s not for me, or any boy-diddling pope to tell you which gender you both should be. And it is certainly not for us to “forgive” you for having love. That’s plain idiotic.
    Love away. Celebrate it and be happy.
    And if any baby-raping cleric dislikes it, fuck them.

  38. Mary2, what Acolyte said. And thanks for explaining why the “it isn’t a choice” defence is offensive. I see your point and I agree. I’m still going to use it when talking to bigots, though, because it’s the only argument they seem to understand.

    I happen to be left handed. In ages past, lefties were driven from their villages and forced to become travelling minstrels and beggars. (Which is why virtually all stringed instruments are easier to play if you are left handed. I always laugh when left handed people re-string guitars on the assumption that they should convert them. It’s already designed for them – the difficult stuff, the fingering, being done with the left hand while the right hand does nothing but strum along. But I digress.) We’ve finally stopped looking at being left handed as a disability, and given up converting people like me to write with their right hand. Once we accept being gay as natural, and not a choice, maybe we’ll stop trying to convert them too.

    Come to think of it, I’m ambidextrous and bisexual. And that also wasn’t a choice but I wonder if there is a connection.

    This said, I think it is quite possible to claim that being gay is not a choice without implying in any way that it is unfortunate or wrong. Even if it IS a choice, so bloody what? We’re all allowed to make choices. If I find somebody who has made the same choice as I have made, and we decide we love each other, why should anybody have anything to say about it?

  39. Glen says:

    I’ve often wondered why the nature versus nurture debate is held to be at all relevant to debates on gay rights, though I think Old Johnson pretty much says it all better than I could.

    I’m not such a humbug as to think there’s no reason to ask the question, mind – knowledge is good – but it’s baffling to me that any decent person could think it should matter. I do wonder if there can be a meaningful answer to the question – human sexuality is just as varied as humanity, and while the majority of people identify as straight I do have to wonder just how many of them fall rather closer to the middle of the kinsey scale than one end, and identify as straight for any one of a huge number of reasons!

  40. WelshmanEC2 says:

    @ Dan (December 12, 2013 at 9:56 pm)

    I read that article
    “Santa is not real says vicar”

    and I’m sure there was an audible “Spoing!!” as my internal irony meter was blown to smithereens.

  41. Nikanth says:

    Pope francis says gay priests should be forgiven. But they don’t allow nuns to even marry a man?! #equality #freedom #Sec377

  42. Dan says:


    But Santa is real. A few years we were in Denmark over Christmas and my daughter hurt her head and needed (minor) treatment in hospital.
    We were walking down a corridor, a lift opened Santa came out and handed her a teddy bear and made a sad child’s day. When we looked round he’d gone.

    If you don’t accept that as absolute cast-iron proof than Santa is real then you’re just a non-believing nay-sayer and there’s nothing that can be done for you.

  43. Chiefy says:

    Dan, that’s much more evidence than I have encountered in support of the Jesus story. No angel ever handed me a teddy bear!

    DH, I suppose you can say that bisexuals do have a choice, by definition, although one never has complete control over whom one loves. I know my romantic decisions haven’t been particularly rational. No regrets, though.

  44. JoJo says:

    @AoS, DH, Chiefy: Whether sexual preference is a choice or not, when it comes to marriage it is generally a far cheaper and quicker alternative to find someone (of any gender) whom you dislike and just buy them a house..

  45. two cents' worth says:

    Barr-the-Door and Old Johnson, I can see why one might want to have Christmas re-branded as Santa Time, but belief in Santa Claus strikes me as “Christianity-lite” (all the calories, but none of the sanctimony 😉 ).

    I like this cartoon that explains the reason for the season: . For native speakers of English or other Germanic languages, if you take the Christ out of Christmas, you have Yule–the mid-winter pre-Christian holiday that got absorbed into, and equated with, Christmas. Yule involves evergeens, holly, mistletoe, feasting, music, singing, and merriment, while a nice warm fire burns in the hearth. It’s traditional to dress up (my mom used to make velvet dresses for my sister and me to wear when we were small), but now I usually don’t go farther than wearing my crystal snowflake brooch. Purists would say that Yule does not involve Santa Claus (who is, after all, based on a Christian saint), but exchanging gifts is a Yuletide custom. The only things I can think of that are part of Christmas but not Yule are religious services, Christian carols (Deck the Halls is purely a Yuletide carol), and nativity scenes (crèches). I’m not sure about bells, but I’d prefer to save them for ringing in the new year–in my family, we open gifts on the night of the 24th, and I like to sleep in on the 25th 🙂 .

  46. smee says:

    This is a similar argument to whether Mandela was a terrorist or not. Of course he wasn’t! How can just fighting to be treated as a human being be terrorism?. Perhaps the Pope thinks he should forgive him too? Gay isn’t a sexual kink or position! Its just being a human being!

  47. Mark S. says:

    The thing with “people don’t choose to be gay” is more a simplification than an implicit insult, at least when I say it.

    Most political disagreements are about premises, not reasoning. If you can demonstrate that the premises are incorrect, the argument falls apart no matter how sound the reasoning is.

    bad guy: Those queers choose their deviant behaviour, so we should not allow it.

    good guy: They don’t choose. Your argument has no value. End of discussion. (We wish…)

    In fact, then you can turn their own argument against them:

    good guy: If God made them gay, then it must be ok! (Again, end of discussion, we wish…)

    Of course, “good guy” here doesn’t say out loud “If your imaginary god…”

    The real problem with discussions about homosexuality is that there are really only two camps:

    good guy: Homosexuality? So? Let people do what they want.

    bad guy: We should ban homosexuality because “Eeewww!!! Yuck!”

    And that is the problem that we seem to be unable to solve, because there are people who refuse to recognize that *their* Yuck! is not a reason to control *my* behaviour.

    b.t.w. Even outspoken gay activists would fall into my “good guy” category and say “so what?” if not for the “bad guys” making an issue of it. There would be nothing to protest and no need for activism. I wish for a world like that, and it is one clear piece of evidence that the hypothetical “God” wants something else more than he wants my happiness.

  48. two cents' worth says:

    If all Roman Catholic priests are supposed to be celibate, why should gay priests who remain celibate need any more forgiveness than straight priests who remain celibate?

    Under the rules of the Roman Catholic game, if a priest were to commit the sin of breaking his vow of celibacy by having sex with a consenting adult male with a particular marital status (never married, married, widowed, or divorced) and clerical status (under religious vows or a member of the laity), why should that be worse than if his partner were a consenting adult female with the same marital and clerical status?

    Sex with minors or with non-consenting adults isn’t just a sin, it’s a crime. To me, it should be considered an aggravating factor when this crime is committed by a member of the clergy–someone who is supposed to set a moral example for others and who has moral authority over the lay members of their religion–especially when the perpetrator previously had the victim’s trust because he was the victim’s minister, teacher, or the like.

  49. two cents' worth says:

    The Roman Catholic church has hidden its clergy’s sex crimes (especially sex crimes involving minors) to protect its reputation, lest it lose members from its fold. I wonder what other crimes it is hiding? (The Vatican Bank comes to mind.) Or, maybe it’s not hiding them, but news about them doesn’t spread far, because they’re less salacious than the sex crimes.

  50. Old Johnson says:

    two cents’ worth:
    Christmas and Santa have bugger all to do with the bastard hybrid thing nailed to a couple of sticks. Christmas is a celebration of the Sun coming back, or at least not retreating any more, and Santa is *NOT* connected to Saint Nicky the Bacon-thief. Santa is far older and far more respectable than any baby-raping Christian priest or priest apologist. Santa is ScandaWegian or GermaTeutonic or something weirdly older than them. That association with Nicky is a late 20th Century fabrication; a Christian myth invented when the coke Santa became famous and popular in America. St. Nick came well after Cocacola Santa. Basically, Christians lie. A lot.
    They say priests are good when they rape children.
    They say priests are honourable when they protect child molesters.
    They say popes are to be revered when they are criminals and liars.
    And they say they own Christmas. They don’t. Non-christian Winter festivals were celebrated twenty thousand years before their hybrid got nailed to sticks.
    And before his unwed mother was raped by an alien.
    Christmas is for jollity and laughter and fun, it should have nothing to do with any mythical christ monster. Christmas is for love.
    Keep the christians out of OUR Christmas.

  51. Old Johnson says:

    Has evryone seen this:
    It seems that Davey baby is trying to be one of the good guys. Makes a change.

  52. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    JoJo says:
    December 13, 2013 at 4:36 pm
    @AoS, DH, Chiefy: Whether sexual preference is a choice or not, when it comes to marriage it is generally a far cheaper and quicker alternative to find someone (of any gender) whom you dislike and just buy them a house..

    Need a hug, JoJo? 🙂
    From your ‘bandwagon’ link:

    The prime minister’s official spokesman said David Cameron felt “very strongly about this”.
    “He doesn’t believe guest speakers should be allowed to address segregated audiences.”

    Oh, Cameron, do keep up. Of course a guest speaker should be allowed to address segregated audiences, he (when it involves fundamental religion it’s almost certain to be a ‘he’) just can’t demand to do so and expect his demands to be met.

    And this bit has had me scratching my head since I heard it when the story first broke:

    Universities UK concluded: “If neither women nor men were disadvantaged and a non-segregated seating area were also provided,..

    Granted, I’m not on the board of UUK – didn’t even go to university as it happens, but even I can work out that a segregated audience with a non-segregated area is about as segregated as a vegetable curry with a couple of chunks of lamb in is vegetarian.

    Time for a joke.
    What goes Clip-clop-clip-clop-clip-clop-clip-BANG!BANG!clop-clip-clop-clip-clop?
    An Amish drive-by shooting.

  53. two cents' worth says:

    Old Johnson, I agree with you! I also think that you might not have clicked on the link I provided 🙂 . The cartoon at that link shows someone holding a greeting card. The front says, “Remember the reason for the season–” and the inside says, “the winter solstice.”

    Based on its etymology, the original meaning of “Christmas” was roughly “the ecclesiastical festival celebrating the feast day of Christ.” Today, “Christmas” is the common term for the holiday. I don’t know what the mid-winter holiday was called in the years BCE, but I like to call it “Yule” to hint that the holiday I celebrate is not about Christ.

    Based on what I’ve read in Wikipedia, it looks like (just as they appropriated Yule and converted it into Christmas) Christians overlaid Saint Nicholas onto Odin, and as the culture became more secular, Saint Nicholas morphed into Santa. Quoting from (but leaving out the footnotes on that Web page),

    The god Odin’s role during the Yuletide period has been theorized as having influenced concepts of St. Nicholas in a variety of facets, including his long white beard and his gray horse for nightly rides (see Odin’s horse Sleipnir), which was traded for reindeer in North America. Margaret Baker comments that “The appearance of Santa Claus or Father Christmas, whose day is 25th of December, owes much to Odin, the old blue-hooded, cloaked, white-bearded Giftbringer of the north, who rode the midwinter sky on his eight-footed steed Sleipnir, visiting his people with gifts. … Odin, transformed into Father Christmas, then Santa Claus, prospered with St Nicholas and the Christchild became a leading player on the Christmas stage.”

    If you’re curious, the Wikipedia article includes other interesting details, including information on other pre-Christian Santa predecessors besides Odin, and the fact that Santa was mentioned as early as 1773 CE–that’s after the earliest reference to St. Nicholas in the late 700s CE (per ) and well before the introduction of Coca Cola in 1883 CE (per the Wikipedia article on Coca Cola).

    Oh, well. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and whatever the holiday is called, people around the world celebrate on or about Dec. 25th, when we’re sure that the days are growing longer again, and the nights are getting shorter.

  54. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Oh, almost forgot; Smee, ‘Gay isn’t a sexual kink or position! Its just being a human being!.
    Yes!….or possibly no. Not just human, anyway.
    One of the most common objections* to homosexuality – or often any sexuality that isn’t restricted to penis-in-vagina – is that it ‘isn’t natural, no other animals do it’ (‘other animals; quite ironic really, since it’s usually spouted by the same mob that deny evoulution).
    I could almost understand why people would believe this back when the natural world was also largely the unknown world, but not now, not when there are thousands of camera crews filming animal behaviour all over the world and have been for sixty years or more, garnering much evidence that has pretty much killed that statement.
    It’s nearer to the truth to say that there are possibly several hundreds of species that ‘do’ homosexuality; there’s only one that ‘does’ homophobia.

    *The most common seems to be ‘Eeeuuurrrgggh!.

  55. two cents' worth says:

    AoS, thanks for the joke!

    On a more serious note, if you’re interested in how the Amish reacted to a school shooting, see . The Amish* are a Christian sect and practically all of us in the Cock and Bull disagree with them on many points, but I admire the way they practice what they preach when it comes to forgiveness.

    * By the way, to hearken back to the original topic, the Amish belief is that homosexuality (feeling sexually attracted to someone of same sex) does not exist, and homosexual sex acts are considered sinful. Maybe the Author will one day offer a J&M cartoon inspired by the Amish. So many sects, and so little time!

    I’ve been overindulging myself here in the pub tonight. Thanks for a lovely evening, but it’s time for me to get some work done, then get some sleep!

  56. Old Johnson says:

    two cents’ worth at 13/12/13 at 0843-ish:
    I never said anything about *Belief* in Santa. Satan Claws, yes. We have one of those where I live, too. All furry and purry until you fuss the nasty little bastard then it becomes a glove of teeth and claws and streaming human blood. I truly believe I should not try to be friendly with our local Satan Claws, but Santa’s just a post card character, a comic book hero, our warm lap to sit on in stores’ grottoes and a useful tool to stop the kiddies from asking Daddy for pressies. If you want more pressies, little Suzie, walk to the Norff Pole and ask *him*.
    I watch movies but I don’t believe in Heracles, Thor, John Maclane and Cool Hand Luke. I don’t see why I need to *believe* in mobile aviating venison evolving LED noses to enjoy a Christmas.
    Venison itself I believe in. It’s delicious.
    Even at Christmas. Which reminds me, I have some venison burgers in the freezer, a cooker, brown sauce and a loaf. I’m off to do good stuff.
    No, I won’t apologise to the vegans. I might to the poor deer, but that won’t stop me. I’m ever so slightly selfish and evil and the dear, dear deer’s dead.
    Y’know, that’s sort of like hugging your beloved, only hugging isn’t even a little evil, it doesn’t need a cooker, it doesn’t involve deer (unless you hug deer) and love is so cool and a matter of taste.
    So is venison.
    Hugging’s nice no matter what genders are involved and your huggy bits don’t get warm things killed. Venison does. By logic that should make me far more evil than any naughty-sex-doing person. Now we have to ask how many priests eat meat?
    As well as diddling boys in the cloisters they kill to eat. Bad priests.

    Just to clarify, I’m still going to eat that dead mammal. If the gods hadn’t wanted us to eat animals they would have built them out of veggies and bran.

    Err, [b]I[/b] don’t sit on Santa in stores. I’d occasionally like to sit on Satan Claws but I’m fat and male and old and I’d cripple Santa. That would ruin his day and make all the little midget humans sad.
    Do they [b]let[/b] old fat buggers sit on Santas? I’d like to do it once, just to worry the store managers and the straight mums.

  57. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Old Johnson, I don’t know if they’d allow you on Santa’s knee, but I’d love to be there if you try! Hope the venison burgers were good.
    By the way, if you want to use bold or italics, you need to use (that’s the left/right ‘arrowheads’, in case the symbols don’t appear) rather than [.

  58. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Sod’s law; demonstrate html and it’s bound to fail. Where’s HaggisForBrains when he’s needed?

  59. Cephas Atheos says:

    I made it all the way through the dusty, murky archives, covered in virtual bat droppings and spiders, along the damp, dank walkways, walls scratched with strange arguments and bad puns, all the way to this well-lit emporium of intellect.

    NOW I can maybe participate, instead oftalking to years-old ghosts of commenters past.

    Oh, yeah, keep the ‘ram’ in ‘ram-a-dam-a-ding dong’!

  60. Cephas Atheos, welcome to the Cock and Bull, the best local in the world. We all look forward to getting to know you. We hope.

  61. Old Johnson says:

    I found a lovely site. Educational, full of sage stuff and very literate:

    Acolyte, I did know about the “” but I had just written something on another bloggy site and they used different software.
    The wonderful thing about standards is that there’s enough to go round. Everyone can have their own.
    And if I do try I’ll make sure someone’s taking movies. Those security camera images they’ll be showing in the court case are just too grainy to show me off to my best.

  62. Barr-the-Door says:

    Dan: Okay, I accept your evidence. Who am I to argue with a little girl and her teddy bear?
    Come to think on it, I’ve seen far better evidence for the existence of the “Peter Parker” Spiderman than I ever did for any of the saints, the Carpenter family of Bethlehem or even Mo’. Books, comics and movies, and when was the last time J. Carpenter the Oily opened a mall?

    Old Johnson: Enjoy the well-liked, expensive cervine steaks. (Good one.)
    But how come I never meet women like that? All the ones I meet are nice. Maybe the dives I hang out in aren’t low enough?

  63. Barr-the-Door says:

    Old Johnson: meet JoJo’s bandwagon.
    Look up.
    Or did you deliberately repeat it just to take a cheap shot at the lovely, wonderful, honest, dedicated, honourable and supremely non-slimy Mr. Cameron, MP and PM who would never consider taking a stance just to get column inches and some cheap votes and only so long as he didn’t offend the powerful religious lobbies?
    That would have been clever and sneaky of you.

  64. Barr-the-Door says:

    Chiefy: I’ve passed on your joke to my sister. She’s not religious, much, but she is partial to a bit of woo-woo and tree-huggery.
    I guess that’s me not being invited to the party. Again.
    Naughty BtD.

  65. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Welcome, Cephas Atheos.

    Old Johnson, you describe youself as an ‘old fat bugger’. Have you not considered being Santa, rather than just sitting on one? Think of the fun you could have.
    “And what would you like for Christmas, little boy?”
    “I want a smartphone and an ipad and an ipod and an x-box and a bike and..”
    “Well, aren’t you a greedy little fucker!”

  66. Old Johnson says:

    Me? Santa? Acolyte, you flatter and honour me … far less than I deserve. I’m too magnificent to be hired as a santa. Also, I don’t need to work, ever. And I’m bloody determined never to work. Just to annoy the statisticians and the rest of officialdom.
    Santa-jobbing might not be much work and it could indeed be fun (“You want a what, honey that’s illegal in seventy countries …”) but I’ll be damned if I ever work again.
    Just to be precise, I’m an old, fat bugger with a beard.

    Barr: I really, really did enjoy my dear deer, dear. Lovely. Thanks.
    And, no, it wasn’t deliberately thought out and planned. It was accidental genius. I missed the JoJo post. Sorry, JoJo.

  67. Old Johnson says:

    Chiefy: I suspect everyone has a choice in whom they have sex with. I know I do. I just don’t feel much attraction to males and lots to females. (Sorry, Honey, I meant FEMALE (singular) of course.) I think I could do the male-male thing but I’ve just always seen males as … is “ugly” too strong? So I choose not to. I choose not to quite a lot, really. Out of three thousand million males I think I prefer the females. Sorry, Honey, the one female.
    Hell, I could have sex with horses, sheep and dogs should I want to and should I be able to find compliant partners. I simply choose to not do them either. The sheep I’d rather eat, cook and eat. Mutton’s lovely.
    Now, as to why I’m attracted only to females … female … that’s just one of those things. And who gives a fuck? (Well, I did, but only to her.) It might be nice to know if there is an explanation for my preferences but I’m happy with them.
    I’ve lost three thousand million potential partners by being a picky bastard but I’m content to live with that.
    So, no doubt are the three milliard. And, no doubt, relieved.
    Each to his own.

    Merry WarmCaveInMidWinterFestival.
    Now, if only the clergy could stop bothering us and do some real work …

  68. Chiefy says:

    BtD, that joke isn’t an original; I’m sure it’s been around for a while, but you’re welcome to steal it as I did.

    Old J, I have to admit when I first went to that site, I couldn’t tell if it was serious or a parody. From their home page: “We believe the work of a Christian woman as a home maker and keeper at home is the highest calling she can have and is the role given to her by God Almighty.”

    One can’t argue with logic like that. Apparently they are serious. Pity.

  69. JaMfan says:

    Haha. I wish I was intelligent and multilingual enough to participate in the debates here, but maybe it’s enough that I can enjoy the comic. Fabulous comic. Comic that would be extremely funny if it weren’t so true.

    Bah, it’s extremely funny anyway.

  70. Cephas Atheos says:

    Thanks for the warm welcome, fellow Cock & Bullers. It’s weird, I feel as if I know you already, after having trawled through the entirety of the cartoons and astonishingly erudite (mostly) comments, theological meanderings, and so on and so forth. I’ll try not to sound as though I’ve been stalking you!

    I’ve learned much and laughed more. But since I subscribe to the view that the day I don’t learn something is the day I get planted, I’m delighted to continue finding things to add to the Big Scrap Book between my ears!

  71. Barr-the-Door says:

    Sorry, people but I just had to share this:
    We’ve gone back to the Moon!
    We’ve gone back to the Moon!
    We’ve gone back to the Moon
    Holy fuck, I’m still alive and We’ve gone back to the Moon!!
    Okay, so it’s just a tiny rover but… but …We’ve gone back to the Moon!
    I’m actually crying…
    Hey, did I mention Humanity has done it … We’ve gone back to the Moon!
    Go, China Go!
    It sort of puts all that petty little religious nonsense into its proper perspective, no?
    Have you heard? We’ve gone back to the Moon!
    Actually back. To the Moon.
    I want a bloody ticket …

  72. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    And about time too, Barr-the-Door.
    I’d always hoped that we as a species would have followed the lead of science and learned to put the superficial differences of nationality behind us by now, and that there would be a truly global space programme. Alas, it seems that warfare is still more desirable than knowledge.
    If memory serves, the entire Voyager programme cost less than the price of a single ICBM! I wonder how much we’d have learned by now if even a quarter of the beyond-obscene amount of money spent on bombs and bullets in the last forty years had been spent on the exploration of space instead.

    It sort of puts all that petty little religious nonsense into its proper perspective, no?
    Not for the religious; those godless commies are in league with the devil, y’know.

  73. Old Johnson says:

    Hey, Acolyte, them damned pinko, bastard commies are our friends. We can tour their Tippy Toppest Mostest Secret Nuke Bases, now. Even tourists can wander round places they used to shoot spies for getting close to.
    I know I have always liked the Rooskies for the minimal help we gave them in the Great Patriotic War but now even American Generals work with the godless freaks.
    Best kind of people, godless freaks are.

    Barr : I have a little thing I think I should mention:
    Fucken Brilliant!!.
    And has anyone told you we’re back? On the Moon?
    Are tears infectious?
    Hey, baby-buggering Pope, humans are back on the Moon! How does that fit your fairy tales?

  74. Old Johnson says:

    Incidentally, Acolyte, for the price of a few weeks of the current wars we could have built a Wi-max infrastructure in both “enemy” countries, given every human in both a solar-powered tablet and started up several hundred pro-satanic-west radio, TV and newspaper stations. And for the next few weeks war we could have built them hospitals, drainage, water-works, power plants, good roads, decent museums with a little shop and some decent malls, and we could have sent in armed cops to protect the construction from any interfering locals.
    Think on it, an invading army that builds stuff.
    Good stuff, too, like high-tech factories that need skilled, well-paid, highly educated and can’t-be-arsed with that bum-up stuff five times a shift staff. Factories churning out consumer goods, space probe robots, robotic doctor machines and hosts of other goodies.
    And comic-book stores so they can read the latest Spiderman in Arabic.
    Yes, I know, it’d never happen. Killing and torture are far more fun.

    But we’re back.
    On the Moon.
    Yutu, the Jade rabbit, is in the Bay of Rainbows.
    Hey, Barr, have you heard?

  75. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    ‘who knows if the moon’s
    a baloon,coming out of a keen city
    in the sky—filled with pretty people?’

    E. E. Cummings.

    Will the Jade rabbit (is it rampant?) find the pretty people? Or could the pretty people be the hordes of political prisoners* Chinese miners on stand-by if Yutu indicates that stripping the Moon of its minerals is a viable proposition, and the balloon is what will remain when they’ve finished?
    I do hope they don’t expect to find coal or oil up there, because that way lies disappointment – or a big re-think of the history of the Solar System!

    *I’ve already heard one ‘talking head’ on the radio saying that China should be focussing on improvements at home – poor human rights, massive under-class living in poverty, etc. – rather than messing around in space.
    Not a single mention of America’s space programme, its massively disproportionate non-white prison population, its drones and warmongering and Guantanamo. I suppose the abuse of human rights is only bad when the people doing the abusing speak a funny language.

  76. European says:

    AoS, they do speak a funny language in the US – and even funnier, they call it English 😉

  77. European says:

    And, Barr, I hear there are tickets to be had, for Mars, one-way…

  78. European says:

    And if I had the money, I would get a few of those one-way tickets and give them to some folks…

  79. omg says:

    When you give them the tickets, make sure they embark and they stay on the ship until the door is closed…

  80. Old Johnson says:

    European: Hi, I can’t speak for young Barr but I, for one, would never pass the damned TV reality show talent contest process. No way am I pretty enough, sexy enough, blonde enough or enough equipped with a huge rack.
    Given an open door I would wade through hordes of defending technicians to get onto a Mars ship, leaving bleeding and bruised bodies in piles. But there is not a single hope in any or all of the milliard Hells that a TV audience would prefer to keep me for another week when they can pick some simpering nonce with big knockers, or even a young lady.
    I’m wealthier than many ancient kings, I have tech and goodies they could never have dreamed of and I’ll never have to work again, with the added benefit that I don’t need to worry about young Swelly-foot doing a palace coup, but I could never buy a ticket.
    When I was young enough to chose a career path, something to feed my family for years and decades, I wasn’t Yankee or Commie CCCP’ian enough to be taken up by the only game in town, the two big governments. Neither of them looked at all likely to loft Englishmen and the UKlander government were certainly never going to do anything useful. Yurp wasn’t big, rich or integrated enough to think of having its own manned lifters and the idea of any furriners doing it was laughable in the extreme.
    Anyway, the Dream of Stars died the day Apollo 8 circled the Moon and astronauts – Astronauts, forsooth – were compelled by politics to read from the book of evil, debauchery and idolatry. The Dream was truly staked in its coffin when Apollo 18 was killed. The rancid corpse of the Dream was kicked into the gutter when the Space truck was cut into pieces and sold as pork, making it a useless, impractical and low-orbit only kludge. The swelling mess was swept up and finally buried forever when, inevitably, they killed off that waste of time, effort and money without any idea of how to replace it.
    And now comes Yutu, the Jade Rabbit in the Bay of Rainbows to re-kindle a tiny flame of the magnificent dream of Humanity’s eternal, ubiquitous destiny. It may well be a dying spark of the last gasp of a well-wetted down fire and absolutely not a new beginning of our true journey but it is a small touch of hope.
    The Jade Rabbit is a beautiful glow of warm hope in an otherwise dark and ugly world. Yutu is the first sign of a resurgence in The Dream.
    The glorious, magical, so very human Dream of Stars.
    It is just barely possible that the Dream has not entirely died.
    Not that I will ever touch the sky.

  81. Old Johnson says:

    Uhhhmmm, folks (he says, rather diffidently, which is not his usual style) d’ya think this has gone just a tiny bit off topic?
    My fault.
    Abetted ably by Barr.
    Sorry. Should I repent my hijacking of the conversation? (Smooth, eh?)

  82. smee says:

    AoS Its Yes, not possibly no. Its possibly no or definitely no according to our theological chums!

  83. Mark S. says:

    Humans are NOT back on the Moon. One robot is.

    That is hardly a remarkable event when you count how many robots are exploring Mars right now. The only reason the US, the EU, and Russia are not putting robots on the Moon is a lack of interest. Even India is sending an orbiter to Mars.

    China wants to put a human on the Moon. Why? The search for knowledge, or Flags and Footprints? For a hint, look at every other action by the Chinese government.

  84. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Old Johnson, only if you truly repent going off topic.
    As it happens, the conversation that doesn’t wander far from the topic is a rarity around here. We are a bunch of meanderthals, and the talk may begin on topic, it might even get dragged back on topic from time to time, but where it goes in between is anybody’s guess.

    Smee, as a general rule of thumb, I find that whenever my opinion differs from that of theologians (does one have to be caled Ian to do theology?), my opinion is the correct one.

    Mark S “China wants to put a human on the Moon. Why?”
    Have you never seen a James Bond film?
    But seriously, I understand your lack of enthusiasm; my first reaction when I heard about their plans to go to the Moon was one of ‘we’ve been there, done that, let’s move on.’ But we’ve barely scratched the surface. Only twelve people have ever left bootprints in the lunar dust, along with a a couple of robots. Have we really learned enough about it to be able to ignore it and move on?
    Besides, if we are ever going to be serious about exploring space we are going to need larger and faster craft, but we are severely restricted in just how big a chunk we can fire out of Earth’s atmosphere and free of the grip of its gravity. What better place for a low-gravity ‘space-port’ than either on or orbitting the Moon?
    We are also restricted in how we fire our spacecraft up and away from us, and by how little power we get relative to the amount of liquid oxygen-based rocket fuel we use; current rocket technology is remarkably inefficient. But out there we could actually put the world’s nuclear stockpile to good use firing ourselves towards further knowledge, rather than towards oblivion.

    That’s a good enough reason to retain interest in the Moon, isn’t it?
    Or did I read too much Asimov and Clark in my youth?

  85. Barr-the-Door says:

    Mark S. pooped on the party on December 16, 2013 at 10:46 pm with:
    “Humans are NOT back on the Moon. One robot is.”

    Oh, pooh! Party-pooper.

    It’s the first landing on our Sister since the dark Ages before iPads. It’s the first sign that anyone is *ever* going to be the thirteenth human on the Moon. It’s the best indication yet that the Dream isn’t entirely a rotting corpse in a meadow thrown away by the damned politicians and their greedy lobbyists. And, like OJ, (Hey, OJ? That sounds sort of familiar.) it’s the first time I’ve had the slightest hope since 1968, December.
    It’s a human touch on the Moon.
    The Chinese say they want to put boots on the ground.
    I think that’s *wonderful*.
    It’s not an FTL starship industry but it’s a step in the correct direction.
    And at WinterFest, too.
    See for loads of links.

    And remember, the last time *anything* soft-landed on the Moon, 80% or so of the humans alive today hadn’t even been born. (Per centage pulled out of my deep and wise intellect and probably roughly in the right close order of magnitude.)

    AoS: Project Orion!
    You take a plate of steel, big, thick and heavy, build a city-sized research, industrial and BigMac-selling plant on top, with squash courts and squash farms, drop nuclear bombs into a rocket vent in the middle and watch that sucker *GO*. The tree-huggery lack-wits who want to protect the furry seals would have conniptions if we tried that on Earth but from the surface of the Moon we could launch entire *countries* with nuclear fire in the sky.
    China, a perfectly peacable use for all those nukes. You could even buy the surpluses from your friends in USA and the Russians.
    I think the word I’m looking for is “Wheeeeeeee!” as the lunar night side lights up.
    Cool, yes?
    And can you read too much Asimov? Clarke, possibly, he yattered on about monsters and bogeymen.

    Notes: any nukes used to loft entire mountains into orbit and further are not killing baby seals here on Earth and any humans lifted to Mars and the cometary zone are unlikely to eat bunnies here on Earth. They may eat bunnies they take with them but that’s a good thing for the crystal-eating, aromatherapy tree-hugging greenie brigade. It means more bunnies in more places. I really don’t expect the greenies to get that idea. Greenpeace never did. They hate all tech apart from sunshine-powered electric guitars and Volkswagons – and, of course, all the cyanide-using, river-poisoning mother-earth-raping mining whose products they can sell in their catalogues.
    Best place for greenies? The exhaust vents of an Orion on the Moon, trying to prevent it from launching.
    Oooh, naughty Barr.
    And Orion would be safe on Earth. The planet survived Chernobyl. It could easily cope with a launch site that glowed in daylight. Greenies can’t do simple arithmetic.
    AoS, I don’t really care why the Chinese go. So long as they do go and they take me.

  86. Barr-the-Door says:

    “Can you touch your toes?”
    “Well, I can touch some of them, now.”

    And … those Chinese are getting damned clever. They’ll be putting robots on the Moon, next.

  87. Old Johnson says:

    BtD: no, never, no one is ever going back to the Moon. Gwarenteed. That’s just not going to happen. Ever.
    Jade Rabbit.
    Okay, so I’ve been wrong for thirty years and more.
    (And that’s sick, BtD. Of course, he probably was a little unwell at the time so maybe sick’s appropriate.)
    I’ve still got a far better track record than the churches. They’ve been far more wrong about far more things for millennia.

    AoS: did Popey boy actually mention repentance? Or is just acknowledging that me and young Barr are equally culpable sufficient? And can one repent your career choice? I mean, I’m unhappy I didn’t become an astronaut or a cosmonaut or even a taikonaut but repent it? Fuck that. It may be a very, very bad thing to become a career child-molesting hypocrite and misogynist but should it be something repentable?
    I mean, do politicians repent? Or career thieves? Or burglars? Evince remorse for the evils of their actions, yes but repent their jobs?
    I worked. I think I contributed to the betterment of society. My employers agreed sufficiently to reward me with a pension and a house. Even if I had been the most evil bastard in history and did truly evil things as part of the job should I not repent those actions and not the job itself?
    Repent doing priestly things like pretending to believe in bearded fairies in the clouds and unwed mothers being raped by aliens, lying to the cops and hiding the perverts, yes but being a priest?
    It’s an intriguing question.

  88. European says:

    Speaking of repentance, seems there’s hope even ‘over there’:
    (the spin of the title is a bit weird, though, to say the least – 0.88% to 0.68% – big deal…)

  89. John M says:

    Maybe you didn’t read enough Heinlein and Bradbury, not to mention the less prolific but amazingly gripping, Wyndham, in between bits of Asimov and Clarke. And from some of his comments, it seems BtD certainly missed points raised by the three names I’ve just proposed.

    Ecology is perhaps the most essential science needed to cope with space exploration, and the authors I mention, as well as Asimov, have themed good short stories as well as whole novels around it – or more often around the danger of ignoring it. Greenies, as BtD calls those who warn of the dangers of complacency when furthering human development, do speak loudly about it. Unfortunately many of them are only viscerally aware of the constraints imposed, not having had the advantages of schooling in the discipline of Ecology.

  90. omg says:

    I will have to repent also to be off topic, but this video is very interesting to watch:

    I had watched videos from Ayaan Hirsi Ali, she is a very bright woman. If youhave time, please,listen to here.

  91. Mark S. says:

    The interesting thing about going to the moon is what you plan to do there. I expect the Chinese will do *something* that they can claim is better than what the Americans did. They will land 3 astronauts at a time, or they will send more than 12 total across the missions, or they will stay there for a few weeks instead of a few days, or some such.

    But if that is all they do, we haven’t really gained much, have we? I don’t see anything particularly encouraging about a robot landing, except to the degree that the Chinese are doing it as part of a plan to make human landings.

    The permanent moonbase is still waiting for somebody to find a reason to live there. Maybe the Chinese will find one. Will they build a colony there? Will it be economically self-sustaining or will it be subsidized as a symbol of national pride?

    Would you be willing to live in the PRC to be in that colony?

    b.t.w. nuclear rockets pollute the space environment too. They leave radioactive residue on top of your moon base and in the orbits that you use routinely.

  92. HaggisForBrains says:

    AoS Dec. 15 at 2.07 am – sorry, I’ve been on holiday, and am only just catching up. To write in bold, you need to place the text between <b> and </b>. For italics replace the “b” with “i”. Without a preview I can’t be sure this will work, but fingers crossed.

    May I also welcome so many new regulars (I hope they will become regulars) to our favourite hostelry. I don’t have time to respond to all the interesting comments, but thank you all for maintaining the high standard.

    Y’all have a Cool Yule.

  93. omg says:

    Just a test : bold italic bold italic Just to see if it work…

  94. HaggisForBrains says:

    omg – very good! You’ve failed succeeded ;-)!

  95. HaggisForBrains says:

    Oops, lost my Gravatar – perhaps I used the wrong email address – let’s try this one.

  96. botanist says:

    Haggis FB – welcome back – hope you had a good holiday but most of the world has Wi-Fi, so it’s a poor excuse for not dropping in, or at least sending a post card 🙂
    Why isn’t the ‘and’ between your and your in bold?

  97. botanist says:

    Oh so HFB you did something clever!! How did you hide the ‘back arrow’ and ‘forward arrow’ lol.

  98. botanist says:

    And omg – you understood him and I didn’t lol. well done 🙂

  99. John M says:

    To write in bold, you need to place the text between <b> and </b7#62;.
    Now everyone is wondering how you (and I) manage to get that line to appear without the <b#62; and the </b7#62; being active and thus emboldening the “and”

  100. John+M says:

    To write in bold, you need to place the text between <b> and </b>.
    Now everyone is wondering how you (and I) manage to get that line to appear without the <b> and the </b> being active and thus emboldening the “and”

    Well a spectacular late-night *FAIL* by John M has given a few clues, even though I have now corrected them here

  101. Barr-the-Door says:

    omg : Yes, you’re right, Ayaan Hirsi Ali does seem to be a very bright person. There are a lot of them around. Somewhere in the close order of half of them just happen to be women. Isn’t that weird? (Is there an ironic sarcasm smilie?)
    If there is anything better on this world than an intelligent, clever, wise and bright woman I’ve yet to meet it. Was it OJ who said living with one was a privilege?
    And that keeping them quiet is a waste of at least half of all of the talents, skills, music, poetry, beauty, art, magic and power of Humanity. That is fucking *evil*.
    Mrs. Hirsi Ali is an insubordinate, opinionated, stubborn person. In short, a lovely human being. I wonder (sarcastically) why she’s not on UKland TV more? Could it be because she would annoy the oil-owners?
    The lady also says a lot of what we do.

    Just to annoy the other guys for a change: how can one surrender to something that does not exist? And Mo’ is not the last prophet. Sun Myung Moon, Jim Jones and John Smith would seriously contend his arrogant, stupid and entirely wrong contention to be the last. Or have some Cock&Bull commenters already mentioned this?

    Mark S. : okay. I was too happy. Given a week or so, I’ll probably see Yutu as just another Mars toy only his time a little closer, but for now I see it as a toe in the vacuum.
    Someone once asked me what the fuck anyone would want to live on the Moon for. My answer: “Do you want fries with that?”
    Why did we follow the ice when it retreated from Europe and England? Why did we bother with the New World? Why did we bother coming out of Africa? “Do you want fries with that?”
    Sure, Farside can hold massive radio telescopes protected from the unceasing screaming yammer of Man’s homeworld, and it can site large optical telescopes that have all of the advantages of Hubble and many, many more.
    . That keeps the scientists off the streets and gives them some toys to play with. Why would I go there? Well, I fix things. Software and hardware and how people interact with them. I do techy stuff. I could do that in a closed cell on the Moon. And I would be on the Moon!
    What would we do on the Moon, well, some of us would ask about fries.

    Not chips. Because England isn’t going. And that saddens me beyond grief.

    Along with some previous guys here, and others elsewhere, I see the universe as a cradle of a potentially vast and eternal nest of cultures. Islam and Christianity see this world as a grave, a sieve, a one-shot meaningless test that sorts out the “good” and the “bad”. As Mrs. Hirsi Ali says, Islam is a death cult. A cult of nothing but death.
    Putting a culture on the fifth world of HD202046 gives us the chance to escape this.
    To live forever.
    Yutu is a toe in the vacuum. I hope the Chinese jump in with thousands of booted feet.

    Botanist: HfB put the in bold and then closed the bold before the “and”. The software ignores two emboldings.

    I hope that worked …

  102. John+M says:

    So a spectacular late night fail by John M gives botanist the clue he needs. Here is my botched comment corrected.

    To write in bold, you need to place the text between <b> and </b>.
    Now everyone is wondering how you (and I) manage to get that line to appear without the <b> and the </b> being active and thus emboldening the “and”

  103. Barr-the-Door says:

    BtD: nope. Why didn’t you just read the source code of the page and *see* what he did?
    That’s what John M did, in all likelihood.
    Because, BtD, I want to do it myself, first. Typical nerd. And typical scientist. And probably typical technician.
    Life’s more fun when you don’t cheat and look at the back of the book for the answers.
    Anyone ever tried to tell the theists that?

  104. omg says:

    Did you really think that I failed?

  105. John+M says:


    Nope, that isn’t what John M did, and his massive, late-night FAIL might have told you both that and what he actually did. Hint: IJFGI

  106. John M says:

    Nope. That’s not what John M did. I did make a massive, late-night fail in my comment though, which should clue you in to how I did it. Hint: IJFG

    And this is my last attempt to get a comment up. What is wrong with the interwebs tonight?

  107. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Welcome back, HfB, hope you had a good ‘un.

    Three nuns were having a natter. The first nun said “A couple of weeks ago I was cleaning in Father Malone’s room and found a couple of porn magazines under his bed. I threw them straight into the bin.”
    The second nun said “That’s nothing. Last week I was putting Father Malone’s laundry away and found a packet of condoms in his sock drawer.”
    “Oh my!” gasped the first nun, “What did you do?”
    “I got a pin and poked holes in them” answered the second nun.
    The third nun fainted.

  108. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    You too, John. I’ve just tried to post a joke about nuns; it hasn’t appeared but I’ve just noticed that a ‘+’ has suddenly appeared before and after the ‘of’ in my ‘nym in the ‘NAME’ box above the comment box.
    Jesus getting tetchy ‘cos we’re still taking the piss so close to his birthday?

  109. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    omg says:
    December 18, 2013 at 12:38 am
    Did you really think that I failed?

    No, omg, that’s just HfB demonstrating the ‘strike-through’ feature whilst simultaneously falling foul of Sod’s Law: Sod’s law; demonstrate html and it’s bound to fail. 🙂

    Welcome back, HfB. Hope you had a good ‘un.

  110. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    And it just happened again. I posted as Acolyte of Sagan, but in the ‘NAME’ box it now says Acolyte+of+Sagan.

    omg, I think HfB thought you’d failed, he was just showing off demonstrating the ‘strike-through’ feature- whilst ironically his attempt at the ‘wink’ smiley failed. 😉

    Welcome back, HfB. You’ve got a lot of catching up to do; you even missed the rarest of rare events – Author putting his foot down!

  111. Old Johnson says:

    omg: Yes, she’s a bright lady.

    BtD: close.

    AoS : my ‘nym had a “+” in it today, too.

    BtD : there’s alien robots on our Moon. She’s been invaded again. We really should go up there and do stuff.

    Jesus and Mo’: did either of you ever consider that it is our gods-given duty to spread the word among the godless trackless wastes of the galaxies?
    Merry Christmas, Mo’.
    Happy Satunalia, Jesus.
    (Yes, that was yesterday but it goes on until the 23rd and it’s still yesterday in the USofA for a while.)
    (And yes, the gentle mockery and possible slight with mention of festivals to other gods was intentional. I’m not sure if Moon, Smith and Jones ever had their own holy days.)

  112. omg says:

    Yes, I know that HfT want to show the ‘strike-through’, so I was trying to use other HTML tags, and then I failed 🙁

  113. omg says:

    I looked at the source and the tags I used in the post at “December 18, 2013 at 12:38 am” just disappears. So it seem that we can only use the <b> , </b> , <i> , </i> , <strike> and </strike> tags.

  114. HaggisForBrains says:

    Now who’s showing off!

    Sorry no postcard or posts while away guys but there is no free WiFi on the beach at Fuerteventura, so all I could do was lie in the sun and think about you all :)!

  115. botanist says:

    While we hold our breath waiting for the new J&M today would someone please like to explain how to ‘look at the source’. Am I the only one still not understanding the fun you are all having?

  116. Old+Johnson says:

    Botanist: On a Mac, in Firefox, “Tools”, “Web Developer”, “Page source” or just use the weird four circle and box symbol – ? – (and the gods of the Internet alone know how that’ll show up in C&B’s comments.) and U. That’s “Ctrl-U” for PC keyboards.
    The ? key is to the left of the space-bar on Maccy keyboards.
    In Internet Explorer, I think it’s “View”/”Page Source” or the ubiquitous “Ctrl-U.
    The “Ctrl” keys are also near the space-bar.
    Does that help any?
    Of course you can always save the page in its entirety to your machine and read the HTML in TexteEdit and Notepad. MSWord is bad because it re-formats stuff. That way you can even change things to see what fiddling does.
    You can’t change Author’s online copy but you can fiddle with the copy you download.
    Just remember it’s copyrighted and don’t sell it as your own work.
    Not that any of us would, of course.

  117. Old Johnson says:

    Botanist: On a Mac, in Firefox, “Tools”, “Web Developer”, “Page source” or just use the weird four circle and box symbol – ? – (and the gods of the Internet alone know how that’ll show up in C&B’s comments.) and U. That’s “Ctrl-U” for PC keyboards.
    The ? key is to the left of the space-bar on Maccy keyboards.
    In Internet Explorer, I think it’s “View”/”Page Source” or the ubiquitous “Ctrl-U.
    The “Ctrl” keys are also near the space-bar.
    Does that help any?
    Of course you can always save the page in its entirety to your machine and read the HTML in TexteEdit and Notepad. MSWord is bad because it re-formats stuff. That way you can even change things to see what fiddling does.
    You can’t change Author’s online copy but you can fiddle with the copy you download.
    Just remember it’s copyrighted and don’t sell it as your own work.
    Not that any of us would, of course. 😉

  118. ottebrain says:

    Very, very good-but why would they need to be forgiven for being gay? I agree with Barmaid!

  119. HalfMade says:

    Religions are all hollow lies
    That promise a life in the skies
    They say you will live there
    For ever and ever
    That’s untrue, your conciousness dies.

    The pain of being born not to win
    Is deeper and harsher than sin
    Knowing you will always lose
    That you don’t get to choose
    That your live has been thrown in the bin.

    This is a sort of fun
    Taming the words on the page
    Making them vivid.


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