Another little gem

March 18, 2008

A little cyberslacking in an idle moment turned up a wonderfully funny list of writing tips on a slightly anonymous website called Psychoprogs. Slightly anonymous because the site contains little information about who writes or compiles it. I have to assume that the material is original. The one that caught my eye is the hilarious list of writing tips by someone called scorpio which include such useful advice as

  • Excessive hyperbole is literally the kiss of death.
  • A writer needs three qualities: creativity, originality, clarity and a good short term memory.
  • Mixed metaphors can kill two birds without a paddle.
  • Before using a cliché, run it up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes.
  • Understatement is a mindblowingly effective weapon.

and so on. The full list is at http://psychoprogs.com/articles/101-writing-tips/

An Interesting Dilemma

March 17, 2008

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This picture appears on a blog on the photo-sharing website – Foxsaver. It is a great photograph and one that invites interesting speculation about it. I fear that is exactly what ‘labellaluna’ has done. I won’t repeat the story that accompanies the picture, because frankly I don’t believe it.

Why not?

a) It sounds preposterous.

b) Searching the web has not turned up a corroborating source.

So here it is. A photograph apparently from 1958. Presumably a promotional picture for the Black Cat wine cellar.

Nice picture though.

Every time someone invokes the supposed power of prayer, I find myself wondering about their sanity. Do they really think that praying do any good? The pope prays for peace – hmm I don’t see it happening; a farmer prays for rain – yeah sure; a prayer for the sick – obviously better than medical treatment, not.

If it is meant to be shorthand for get off your arse and do something,then why does it always involve a request to a god? Why do people not simply say what they mean – “I wish it would rain”, “I wish people would stop killing each other” etc.

Even if you do believe in god, the very idea that by simply asking nicely your wish will be granted, must be hard to justify. Particularly as it obviously doesn’t work.

A beautiful illustration of the nonsense of prayer comes from a posting on the wonderfully named Internet Infidels Discussion Board.

Starting with an illustration of the size of the earth relative to our solar system and working out to other systems in this galaxy to a picture from Hubble of other galaxies, Allied35 poses the following –

“And there’s a guy floating around out there, tinkering with all this… and he gets upset if you perform sodomy… and he gets jealous if you worship the wrong book??? WTF?”

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The Internet Infidels Discussion Board is itself housed on Secular Web a website dedicated to Naturalism. Naturalism is defined in the Wikipedia as “any of several philosophical stances wherein all phenomena or hypotheses commonly labelled as supernatural, are either false or not inherently different from natural phenomena or hypotheses”. The idea being that everything can be tested and if it fails then it is false. There is no supernatural – a phenomenon is either natural or non-existent. Certainly no room there for any supernatural beings.

Because the images are so beautiful, here’s another one.

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