The atheist bus campaign

I love the atheist bus campaign.

i have, however, issued the following official statement:

Fucking hell it’s the second day that they’ve got more than £77,000.

At this rate you won’t be able to move in central London for exhortations to enjoy yourself.

Oh wait…

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Thugs firebomb publisher’s home

The Telegraph reports that thugs have firebombed the home of Martin Rynja, owner of publishing company Gibson Square  Religious extremists supporting the attack warn that further attacks will follow.

The company recently acquired the rights to publish a book, The Jewel of Medina, by Sherry Jones,  Three men are being questioned by police.

Half of London parents are officially stupid and selfish

The BBC reported yesterday, 24 September, 2008 that Measels, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine takeup among five-year-olds in London was just under 50 per cent. The stupidest and most selfish parents live in the Newham (42% takeup), Islington (43% takeup), and Brent Teaching health trusts (43% takeup).

London Assembly Health and Public Services Committee chair James Cleverley reports: “The gap between coverage levels achieved in the capital and the national average is widening.” Living in London, it seems, makes you stupid. Particularly stupid given the high population density of the boroughs with the stupidest parents.

“Compared to the country’s average of 74%, only 49% of children in the capital have had the MMR vaccine and booster by their fifth birthday”, says Cleverley.

If you live in London, the only way to protect your children from the behavior of these irresponsible and selfish parents is to make sure your own kids are kept away from those who haven’t been immunized, and make sure their own vaccination is kept up to date. Make sure you ask other parents if they’re sending their kids out to play with yours without being properly immunized.

Unless you want to go back to the state of affairs that existed in my childhood, when measles was regarded as inevitable and all kids took their chances of brain damage and death, treat those parents who refuse the jab as pariahs. Don’t let them risk your children’s life.

The risk from mumps and rubella should not be ignored, either. Mumps can make a post-pubertal male sterile and Rubella can induce congenital defects in a child if the mother is exposed to the disease during pregnancy. This is no laughing matter. Put all the social pressure you can on these stupid, selfish and misguided people.

De Menezes inquest starts: at last a coroner’s jury will get the case

Amnesty reported on Monday, 22 September, 2008, that at long last the coroner’s inquest into the shooting of innocent Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes in a London Underground train by plain clothes officers of the Metropolitan Police in July, 2005.

This is important because it will be the first time a jury hears detailed evidence and decides what happened in the shooting. In November 2007, a jury heard evidence about how the Metropolitan Police handled the response to  serious terrorism, and found the Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, guilty of failing his duty to protect members of the public, including Jean Charles de Menezes.

This was an affair that brought British law enforcement, and the capital, into disrepute.  It’s important that they get this right.

The night they stole the internet

The Register is reporting that on Wednesday night thieves broke into a BT exchange in London’s posh Mayfair district and made off with “routers, networking cards and fibre”.  Businesses the next day were left without internet services.  Reporters for the sister newspapers, Daily Mail and London Evening Standard, speculate that the thieves may have used the opportunity of commotion caused by Guy Richie‘s 40th birthday party in the building next door as cover for the operation.

Exhibition: Francis Bacon retrospective, Tate Britain

Type Francis-Bacon painting into google images and you’re introduced to an austere, drab battleship gray or flesh-colored world of deformed human figures, limbs askew like broken marionettes, their heads grossly distorted or blemished.  In Bacon’s vision, human lines are twisted into beautiful yet disturbing shapes.  There is no chaos here; the draftsmanship is meticulously planned.

Bacon’s interest in motion echoes the preoccupations of the Futurists, but Bacon is obviously up to something more than portraying physical movement.  It is as if an artist took the photographic studies of Muybridge as a starting point, but did not feel constrained by the bounds of physical possibility.  Oil as a medium suggests dimensions that are not accessible by flesh.  Bacon took flesh beyond the limits of physical possibility, to a world limited only by the paints, the canvas, and the imagination.

Francis Bacon was born in 1909, and his life and career spanned most of the twentieth century.  His work was always striking and new, the figures crippled but violently alive and full of motion.  The centenary year approaches so the retrospectives have begun–the first at Tate Britain on Millbank, close to Pimlico tube station, from September 11th, 2008 to January 4th, 2009.  It’s worth popping along during the week if you can, to miss the crowds.

Sheep on London Bridge

It’s not just an urban legend: freemen of the City of London really do have the right to drive sheep across London Bridge, and on Sunday, August 31st, 2008, that is exactly what four freemen did.  Seven Romney rams were driven across the bridge to raise awareness of a campaign to raise funds to preserve Canterbury Cathedral.