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Wednesday, May 29

Racy


I had no idea... It looks like my blog is going off and having sexy times without my knowledge/say so.

Thanks to sex-offenders and nervous companies, we have filters with overactive imaginations throwing accusations around. I expect a torch-wielding mob from the IT department to set fire to my laptop imminently.

Seeing Red - Car Purchasing Fun

The dramatic art of this story is non existent. Here's the ending. I bought a car. I bought a VW Passat Estate, a bit like the one pictured. It's red. A large red car like that seems to shout one thing to me: "Oooh, look at me with my big red car", but I can live with that, since it has the body of a skip, but the heart of a boy-racer-mobile.

I guess this is the first true Ash-mobile for nearly six years. An Ash-mobile might be defined as a car that Ashley owns and drives as opposed to a car that I drive but is very much provided on loan, be it permanent or otherwise.

Perhaps the rules for Ash-mobiles are different when you're a teenager, since I'm sure one or more of the cars I borrowed while 17 and 18 were also classifiable as Ash-mobiles. But I digress.

As well as seeing red, quite literally, when I drive my car, I was also beset with a lot of frustration while I was trying to buy a car. It goes a bit like this:

  • Man drives car for all his life since he passes his test
  • Man never really counts the cost, since the bills get paid, and cars cost what they cost
  • Man gets job with company car and fuel card
  • Man never really counts the cost, since it's a fixed tax cost to him
  • Man's job decides to swap car and fuel card for money
  • Man tries to calculate what he can afford to do with that money
And this is where I would have to say a lot of people can just go stick their heads up their arses. Even better, perhaps they can stick their heads up the arse of one of the Daily Mail journalists who consider bullying and race-related polemic to be acceptable - let's kill two birds with one stone. The people who can go Littlejohn themselves and be Phillipsed include:
  • The man at Toyota, the makers of the most fuel-economy focused manufacturers, who told me I should get a hotel room, rather than commute
  • The people at Inchcape VW in Cirencester who decided that finding a car to suit me was below their business objectives
  • The sales person in VW in Reading who took me for a test drive and then never got back to me with any possible car
  • The various people I emailed for quotes, who ignored me, or didn't answer my questions
  • Whichever twat in the government thinks it's reasonable to put tax on tax on tax on fuel (one of those taxes is not real, the other is unreasonable)
Anyway, the bottom line is that I had a lot of sums to do. As a result I've become obsessed with miles per gallon. The easy way to see why is this graph:

On the Y axis you have how much I would spend on fuel over 148000 miles and on the X axis, you have the different MPGs. As you can see, it's a non-linear scale. Every drop in MPG is extremely costly.

When I thought I'd be driving 148000 miles over the next three years, I realised the sad fact that I'd have to get a car that wasn't a gas guzzler. Cars I'd owned in the past were probably doing around 30-something miles per gallon. As it happens, I'd become accustomed to quite nicely efficient diesel TDIs, but that's only a piece of the puzzle.

In addition to fuel, there's the servicing costs, which are multiplied by the mileage to get a total service cost of ownership. Then there's tyre wear and tear, and other replaceables.

On top of that there's depreciation of the vehicle. There's no point in me buying a new car as I'll decimate its value after 2 years.

So I needed a car which wasn't worth a huge amount, and yet had the ability to do decent miles-per-gallon. I also wanted someone to show me the total cost of ownership and perhaps sell me warranty and servicing packages to help.

Not a private sale, then.

It seems like no second-hand car seller, either dealer or independent, wanted to offer this sort of service. It's possible that Carshop might, but I never found a car on their site that met my other criteria. I only really found two helpful sales people. One was the team I bought my Passat from, and the other was a nice chap in Cirencester who really tried to find me a suitable car, but got it down to one. One unsuitable car. The Kia Rio, or to give it its proper title - the Fuckin' Kia Fuckin' Rio. Not impressed.

I just saw a survey that put the Kia Rio 10th in the least customer-appreciated cars on the market. The Passat isn't in the top 10, though its cousin the Passat CC was. In short, you can't really go wrong with a VW, and everyone who thinks a high mileage driver can be fobbed off should go and have a long hard look at themselves.

I for one am happy with my big red boot on wheels. I even get 54MPG+ out of it... if I drive it in a way that might be described as soporifically leisurely. Who's in a rush, though?

Wednesday, May 22

Chung Clang - a Sense of Closure

If you've never listened to "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" then I recommend that you do. It's one of the nation's finest comedy programmes. It has a very high gag-rate, and it is diverse and interesting in its series of games. With a good mix of spontaneous and prepared material, and a great chief write (programme consultant) Iain Pattinson, it's just a text book in how to be funny.

One my favourite aspects of the programme is the musical rounds they have. These rounds involve Colin Sell, a fine pianist who is relegated to a lowly status, but who is equally if not more talented than some of the cast. One game is "Just a minim", a spoof of "Just a minute" where the panelists have to sing a song without deviation, repetition or hesitation. This frequently involves the song stopping as the other panelists buzz in. At some point, usually before the song has reached a conclusion, the round ends.

Often, mid-song, the end is declared and Colin Sell, unbidden, and sometimes even against the flow of what the presenter is doing, will play two chords on the piano to end the song. This chung-clang sound, which is most probably the dominant chord of the key (the one which takes you back to the main chord that defines the key) followed by the key's tonic chord (the one which says which key you're in). You'll be familiar with this sort of ending as it's one of only a small number of endings that songs have if they come to a hard stop.

Why does Colin play an ending?

I think it's all about closure. Everyone needs the story to end. Just fizzling out isn't satisfying. We need an ending. In life, you don't always get one.

If you want real frustration, try putting the ending before the middle of a story.

If you want disquiet, have no ending.

I think it's a good idea to give people the chance of an actual ending. It occurred recently that someone who worked for me, on his last day with us, worked later than usual. His end date had been chosen arbitrarily. Why work late, if he's leaving? I gave him a choice. I said he could drift out, or he could get the grand finale - complete the last task in the list and leave having FINISHED.

I'm proud of the guy. He took the "finish everything" route. I think it's a good way to move on.

I'm faced with the same situation myself now. I have five and a half weeks left in this organisation and then I'm moving on. Do I end on a bang? on a whimper? on a high? on a massive disgrace? In short, what are the last notes of my song?

I'm going for chung clang. Definitely.

Quite an offer

Just received this offer by spam, it was cc'ed to about 40 people.


Hi,
How are you ? hope you are doing well, I am rose a lovely girl, I am looking for a reliable and trusted person in this . I believe we can get acquainted, please reach me back here. via rosebona77@yahoo.com
rose


I wrote to everyone except the sender.


Concerning this offer from Rose...

I'm worried that she's flirting with all of us at once (and that she's clearly fictional). Mainly that she's started something that's hard to finish. I'm not really into the idea of a threesome, and I haven't even counted how many of you are in this email chain, let alone worked out the name for that amount of a -some.

If you guys want to go ahead and take Rose up on her offer, that's fine, but I'm afraid I can't join in. It's just not for me. I was usually last to be picked out for a football team, so some sort of internet-fixed-up orgy is just going to leave me feeling awkward.

Please let Rose down gently on my behalf.

Good luck.

Be careful.

Ashley

Tuesday, May 21

Where do I stand?

After I was branded a "lefty twat" on twitter last night by a UKIP supporter called Poppy, who seems in favour of lynch-mobs (compared to this over-privileged harridan, I'm probably Gandhi), and after a discussion with my wife where I had no idea whether I'm left of centre or not, and how far, I decided to take a test via The Political Compass.

The results are below.

I'd describe myself as a non-loony fair-minded capitalist.

Game theory suggests that a fair and honest society of individuals benefits its individuals better. I think this page on Nash equilibria should explain a lot of that.

Lord Tebbit's the Lord of the Dance

What on earth makes Norman Tebbit think that Gay marriage will lead to parents marrying their children for inheritance tax reasons?

See this write up in the Guardian

Incensed, as seems to be all too common a mood for me right now, I wrote him a letter.


Email to: contactholmember@parliament.uk

Dear Lord Tebbit

I read your comments regarding gay marriage, and I have a couple of counter points to bring up.

1. The opinion of grass roots Tories is not the same as "what is social justice"?
2. Your arguments about marriage legislation leading to members of the same family marrying is what's known as a slippery slope fallacy - look it up. Essentially it's not implied by the legislation that these illegal marriages would be made legal, nor is anyone asking for that.
3. Your suggestion that gay marriage is a root to enable sham marriages for nefarious purposes somewhat misses the point. Gay people are asking for the same rights as non gay people when it comes to making a lifelong commitment.

I don't know whether you're ignorant of or bigoted against the people who stand to gain fairness from these laws. I recommend you have a long hard look at yourself before you vote.

Yours sincerely


Ashley Frieze

Monday, May 20

Scam?

I think this speaks for itself.


Friday, May 17

Gay Marriage the non twitter version

I couldn't quite find the way to express my views on gay marriage and the fallacious arguments against it through the medium of Twitter. So I thought I'd just write my daughter a letter on the subject.


Dear Martha,

As you're too young, at only 5 months old, to enter the gay marriage debate yourself, I thought I'd explain it to you. You won't be old enough to read this for a while, but perhaps when you are old enough to take this in, you will find it interesting, amusing and perplexing in equal measure.

Some people are gay and some people are not. The gay people fall in love with people of the same gender as them, and the non-gay people fall in love with people of the opposing gender.

When people have been together for a while, they may decide to get married. This is something your mummy and I did after we had been together for a couple of years, and we really enjoyed our wedding. It was a way for us to make a lifelong commitment to be together, and have that recognised by our family, friends and the law of the country.

At the moment, it seems that some people don't want gay people to have the right to get married the way that your mummy and I did. These people seem to have lots of reasons behind their views, but I expect that there is an underlying opinion behind any reason they give. The anti-gay-marriage people don't like people to be gay. As they consider being gay to be somehow inferior, they don't think that gay people should have the same treatment as non gay people.

Of course the anti-gay-marriage campaigners can't say that they just don't like homosexuality. That would open them up to accusations of bigotry and homophobia. Perhaps they don't realise that this is their major issue, or perhaps they do realise it, but don't know how to both hold their views and feelings, and still come across as reasonable. So the campaigners use other language.

They say that gay people have enough rights already. Which is very nice of them to judge on behalf of those gay people who see that a particular status, allowed of everyone else, is not available to them.

They say that redefining traditional marriage would devalue it. This is a strange thing for them to say. Let me put it simply. If two gay people in our village decided to get married, or decided not to get married, how do you think it would affect your mummy and daddy's marriage? Approximately, how much do you think our family's relationships would be affected by anyone else's marriage? Zero? I think you're right. The only way my and your mother's marriage would be affected by a gay marriage is if we were invited to the wedding and either had a good time or a bad time.

As it happens your mummy and I met at a same sex marriage ceremony. If it wasn't for this gay couple tying the knot, then you wouldn't have been born. Sadly, the partnership that they're allowed is not the same as the marital partnership your mummy and me enjoy, which is a real shame.

But I digress.

Let's say, though, that somehow we wanted to have ONLY traditional values in this country. Let's say that this land of ours had to somehow stick a stake in the ground and decide which culture to adopt. From where do we take these traditional values? At what point does tradition start? We've been a Catholic country, an Anglican one, we were Pagan at one stage. Should we limit this search for the right tradition to our own country and our own direct history? Should we go back to ancient Greek times where every gent had both a heterosexual and a homosexual relationship on the go? I don't know.

It turns out that the campaigners over same sex marriage have their own idea of which tradition they're trying to uphold. It's the Christian faith they're trying to protect. The strongest phrase in the Bible, in the Old Testament, refers to same sex relationships. Specifically it refers to man lying with man, and describes this as an abomination. I guess it depends on who the other man is, and whether they know what they're doing or "know not what they do". (Is it just me, or does it sound to you like some of the Bible written by Yoda?)

It seems like the Christian traditionalists, or maybe they're fundamentalists, wish to use their book to define what's acceptable for everyone. I don't think that their book is actually legally binding, except perhaps within a church. It's probably supposed to be binding on people who say "I believe that this book is right and I agree to follow its teachings". Such people exist and I would not deny them the right to do as a book tells them, so long as it's legal and doesn't hurt anyone.

The Bible says a lot of things that even its most staunch followers don't actually follow. It says that there should be a veranda on your flat roof. It says that you should put women in huts when they're menstruating. It says that you should cut off the hand of a woman who injures a man's testicles in a fight. In short, there's a lot of stuff in the Bible which simply doesn't work in the modern era, and so isn't followed by any Christians. Which makes you wonder whether the book is so binding after all.

Please note, book binding is important or else the pages will fall out.

So, somehow, it's ok for Christians to cherry pick the bits of the Bible they will follow, especially when it comes to enforcing the rules over marriage and homosexuality. I don't see why this is the case, but perhaps if they're just enforcing what happens within their churches among their believers, then that's fair enough. Perhaps gay people will have the sense not to follow a religion that's so set against them.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be good enough for the campaigners. They believe their rules apply to everyone. I'm an atheist. The guy who sits near me in the office is a Sikh. I don't think we signed up for these rules. I also don't think that a religious marriage is up to the government to define, and yet the campaigners are trying to make their definition of a religiously acceptable marriage the one which applies to a state-issued marriage certificate. It seems a bit one-sided to me.

There was a lovely bit of advice from Stonewall, a gay rights campaign group. They advised that any Christian who was concerned about gay marriage should definitely marry someone of the opposite gender to themselves. Simple.

You can't help but think that there's more than just the definition of marriage at stake to the anti-gay-marriage campaigners. They talk about "God's way" or "Nature's way" and that "man + woman" is the way of the world. They further justify this with comment about the purpose of a marriage being procreation and how a loving and sexual relationship is by definition one which is born out of the ability to have children.

If your mummy and me had not been able to conceive you, our relationship would have been tested, but would still have been a valid loving relationship.

If same-sex is not nature's way, there would be no examples of homosexuality in the animal kingdom. There are examples of homosexuality in animals. I'm not suggesting that we should mimic all animal behaviour, but more that "nature's way" is observably different to "what the Bible says".

I think the worst aspect concerning the anti-gay-marriage campaigners is their lack of understanding of what it means to be gay. The common fallacy is that being gay is a choice. As such these people think their Bible makes being gay the wrong choice. It's assumed that being gay is somehow lesser (for the reasons above) and also a luxury that shouldn't be encouraged. Yet, the research suggests that being gay is just the way someone turns out. It may be a product of random hormone levels during pregnancy, a happenstance, an "act of god" if you will. It might be a random outcome of growing up. It might be a balance between all sorts of things. It's most definitely not a conscious choice or something that you can be trained into adopting.

My darling daughter, you may be gay. If you are, I hope you get to grow up in a world where this is not stigmatised and where you are not frightened to be who you are. I hope you have the right to meet and commit to whomever is good for your heart and soul. You will have choices along the way, but your sexuality won't have to be one of them.

So why do the campaigners campaign the way they do? I think there are a few major reasons. In some cases I think they feel revulsion towards homosexuality and find the growing acceptance of it to be something they cannot accept. I can relate to that. I feel revulsion towards racism and stand against it to avoid it somehow become accepted. The difference is that racism is oppressive where homosexuality doesn't seek to hurt anyone.

In addition, the campaigners have to resolve the conflict between their attempts to protect the dogma they've chosen to adopt (oh by the way, religion is a choice, not innate - the exact opposite of sexuality) and a rational definition of what's reasonable. If you know that you could be considered wrong through reasonable argument, but you've utterly committed to a point of view anyway, then the only way to keep from being broken apart by that conflict is to push harder. This cognitive dissonance is the cause of all manner of extremist behaviour. Ultimately the anti-gay-marriage campaigners have to resort to "I'm not listening" as an answer to reasoned debate because their position is entirely unreasonable. It has internal logic up to a point, but it's quite plainly wrong.

Life lesson, little one, when you're wrong either accept it, or fight damned hard to distract everyone, especially yourself, from how wrong you are. Ideally do the first one. If you're doing the second one, then I'll try to be discreet about noticing it.

Finally, there's a theory that some people who campaign the most against gay rights are themselves gay. This isn't a case of the poacher turned game keeper so much as the cognitive dissonance thing again. If you think being gay is wrong (which it's not) and suspect that you are gay yourself, then you either have to change your opinion, or deny your own feelings. Moreover, there are people out there who think they can "cure" (brainwash might be a better term) people from being gay. Again, this is based on the incorrect assumptions that homosexuality is a choice and that one is naturally not gay. It isn't and one isn't. The outcome of these "curing" sessions is people with conflicting feelings.

So if someone has that internal conflict going on, the best way for them to run from it, is to push very hard in favour of their cause. By committing daily to this thing they say they believe in, they make it seem true. For every fallacious, rancid, bigoted argument they spout, their ability to question their own feelings and what's reasonable is suppressed, and thus they can stay on the run from the truth.

Now, I don't want you to go away and start hating the anti-gay-marriage campaigners. Hate begets hate, and I think these people do enough hating (of themselves and others) for all of us. In a lot of cases, these poor bastards don't realise that they're spreading oppression. They're fighting their own feelings of being threatened by other people's lifestyles. But don't worry - the lifestyles of other people don't need to bother you.

Do you know what the guy who parks his car in the car park behind our house has for lunch every day? Do you? No? Me neither. It's his lifestyle and I don't need to know about it. If it turned out that he ate something I find unpleasant, every day, and I saw him doing that from time to time, I still wouldn't give a fig. It's none of my business. I'm lucky. I don't feel threatened by other people's rights.

So, I hope that we get this mess sorted out before you're old enough for it to affect you. And let's feel sorry for these poorly adjusted people who find other people's lives so impinging on their arbitrary definition of how other people should lead their lives.

With all my love and support

Your daddy.

Saturday, May 11

Another keyboard to learn

I have a lot of computer keyboards to use. I regularly use three laptops. I have touchscreen keyboards on my phone and tablet. I've probably used dozens of computers over the years, and they all seem to have their own different keyboard layouts. The QWERTYUIOPASDFGHJKLZXCVBNM keys are where you might expect them (except on the Kindle, where the layout is too rectangular), and reflect what I learned on my late grandmother's typewriter when I was but a child, but the other keys move about.

I have two laptops now with Microsoft keyboards attached to them. I like the real-sized keyboard, and the Microsoft keyboard, though slightly harder to use with its sunken keys, is a decent bit of kit. At home I have the wireless version, with a wireless mouse on the side. At the office, I have the wired version.

So why, in the name of some non-existent superbeing, are these two keyboards laid out differently? Same manufacturer, same market, same keys... subtly different layout. The wireless one has its principle keys laid out without the gaps between the letter keys and cursor keys, and the cursor keys and number pad. The wired one, has the special function keys (volume etc) on a special row above all others.

Is this a plot to make me memorise the locations of keys on all keyboards independently of each other? Am I being trained to look with my fingers? (I type with my eyes on the screen, not the keyboard.)

Or are the product designers favouring something spurious, rather than standardisation.

If it were all the same, it would be easier.

All Hail Mr Fry


I think it's fine to debate the reasonableness of a position. I don't think it's meaningful to debate whether someone else is wrong because of how offended you are.

I think one can use one's sense of offendedness to measure how diplomatic someone else is... but that's not especially useful outside of social niceness.

"I think you're being offensive" is not the same as "I think you're being unreasonable" which is not the same as "I think you're being oppressive".

Thursday, May 9

Barbara Hewson

Given that Barbara Hewson is a lawyer and probably capable of identifying libel, I shall not be calling her a rancid petulant amoral cunt.

However, I shall be looking at some of the points in this article she wrote and pointing out the flaws in her logic.

"I do not support the persecution of old men. The manipulation of the rule of law by the Savile Inquisition – otherwise known as Operation Yewtree – and its attendant zealots poses a far graver threat to society than anything Jimmy Savile ever did."

This makes the assumption that Operation Yewtree is persecuting old men, rather than following up complaints of unlawful behaviour. It also assumes that the aim of justice is to avoid a threat to society, when in fact, it's the absence of justice that's a threat to society, and the presence of justice that's a benefit to the wronged individual.

"Now even a deputy speaker of the House of Commons is accused of male rape."

A man who has no immunity to the law is accused of something unlawful. What's the problem?

"In the 1880s, the Social Purity movement repeatedly tried to increase the age of consent for girls from 13 to 16, despite parliament’s resistance. At that time, puberty for girls was at age 15 (now it is 10). "

This is a rather pernicious argument. The underlying message is that the age of consent is wrong. The presumption is that the age should be defined by when a girl reaches puberty. This is a massive red herring. It doesn't matter what definition this writer thinks should be the definition of consent. It's 16. Moreover, the effect of an adult taking advantage of their position and manipulating a child (i.e. anyone under 18) is irrelevant of when a girl's period starts or pubic hair might happen to grow. Finally, the law is what it is, and cannot be retrospectively argued as not relevant.

"Taking girls to one’s dressing room, bottom pinching and groping in cars hardly rank in the annals of depravity with flogging and rape in padded rooms."

I think this is a false dichotomy. We don't have to decide if it's as bad as flogging and raping them. We have to decide if it was lawful. Fact: it wasn't. Fact: there are complainants claiming it damaged them. Sure, everything's on a spectrum, but this is not on the legal side of that spectrum.

" The problem with this approach is that it makes abuse banal, and reduces the sympathy that we should feel for victims of really serious assaults."

Another false dichotomy. If we feel sorry for an underage girl who was touched up a bit by Jimmy Savile, does that mean we don't have compassion for an adult who was gang-raped (for example)? Of course not. One might imagine that the writer of this has some sort of sympathy budget. Bullshit!

There are some interesting points in the article about the use of the courts as therapy rather than for prosecution of law-breaking. But then...

"Touching a 17-year-old’s breast, kissing a 13-year-old, or putting one’s hand up a 16-year-old’s skirt, are not remotely comparable to the horrors of the Ealing Vicarage assaults and gang rape, or the Fordingbridge gang rape and murders, both dating from 1986. Anyone suggesting otherwise has lost touch with reality."

This is a combination of a false dichotomy and a straw man. Is someone saying that kissing a 13 year old is as bad as the Ealing Vicarage assaults? No. Does this mean that it's therefore good? Or acceptable? No. Are those people trying to round up and punish the law-breakers losing touch with reality because they think that groping a 16 year old is akin to gang rape? No. Has this writer tried to baffle the reader into accepting her point of view by using spurious reasoning? Yes. What tommy rot!

"Instead, we should focus on arming today’s youngsters with the savoir-faire and social skills to avoid drifting into compromising situations"

Let's just look at the above a second (out of context a little? well, only a little). Let me imagine the following session with my daughter.

Me: Now little one. It's really important that you learn a few tricks to defend yourself against older men who may try to touch you inappropriately.
Her: Why would they do that? Is that allowed?
Me: Well it doesn't matter if it's allowed, does it. If you aren't savvy enough...
Her: Savvy?
Me: You know, having of savoir-faire...
Her: Oh, you should have said.
Me: ... if you're not savoir-faire-ey enough, then someone might abuse you. And that would really be your fault as much as it was theirs. After all, you've allowed yourself to get into a compromising position, haven't you. You've basically lured them into taking advantage of you. You hussy.
Her: You're right. My rights as a child are nothing if I cannot even be bothered to bat away the lurid advances of paedophiles and other assorted ne'erdowells.

Sure, we want our kids to be streetwise, but that's the safety net, not the solution. The fundamental problem that Yewtree is (hamfistedly) trying to resolve is that it was considered acceptable, if kept under wraps, back in the day, for people of a certain social standing to use their position to take advantage of children. I'm not a flaming torch parading protective parent. Paedophilia is a complex problem and doesn't benefit from knee-jerk fundamentalism. It also doesn't benefit from the whitewash of some oddball apologist who's trying to spin it as though there are faults on all sides here.

She finishes:

"my recommendations are: remove complainant anonymity; introduce a strict statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions and civil actions; and reduce the age of consent to 13."

Her view is that the complainants should have a harder job complaining, that the old men who did things in the past should be allowed to draw a line under it if it was long enough ago, and that children should be accessible to adults from 13 years old.

Barbara Hewson, barrister and writer, I am sure it's not libel if I state clearly and categorically that, as far as I'm concerned, you can go fuck yourself.

Wednesday, May 8

No, I will have my say

It's strange the things that bother you. I felt very defensive yesterday over something which I wouldn't have expected to get defensive over - a children's TV show that isn't Doctor Who.

My lovely little daughter seems to really like a CBBC show called Waybuloo. I was looking to see whether I could maybe buy her a toy of something from the programme when I happened upon a letter of complaint about the programme. Please read it before reading on:

Note, the author took their page down, but here is a snapshot of it for reference.


Click to read

That's my daughter's favourite TV show, and he's complaining about some spurious New Age agenda that he claims it has. I couldn't stop myself from commenting. My comment is below, since there's no guarantee that it will get through his moderation process. Indeed, he seems the sort of person for whom reasoned debate is considered a luxury.

Are you seriously complaining about Waybuloo? Is this a joke? What’s your objection to the trinkets of Zen/New Age mysticism?

If this programme were a genuine attempt to convert children to religious thinking, I would be right on your side, but it’s not. It’s a calming tone-poem of a programme where nothing much happens and there’s lots of music and sparkly things, with a vague story relating to something bland like sharing your toys, or helping each other.

To suggest that there’s a political agenda is as ridiculous as to suggest that a pound shop is trying to make people into drug takers by selling joss sticks.

What’s your political agenda? Are you fundamentalist about religion in some way? Do you think that anything with symbols from a particular culture is somehow damaging?

As for whether Yoga is new age or whether it’s just a way of relaxing with no belief system, I’d refer you to the majority of classes out there which have more to do with the toning of the muscles than the alignment of the soul.

I’m impressed that these watchdogs even dignified your email with a response?

Or are you actually winding everyone up?

I subsequently read more of his site, and he seems to be a strangely conflicted individual. On the one hand he's an IT person, writing very competently about the logical world of computers, on the other hand he's a Christian preacher, explaining how science must be wrong, because it disagrees with the Bible. He's not quite the full-blown extremist hell-fire and brimstone preacher, but he relies on logical fallacies and special pleading to explain how the Bible can be literally right and that science is not to be believed.

We all have our crosses to bear (no pun intended) and I suspect that he's had a number of tests to his faith. I expect that it's difficult to hold onto your beliefs when they're challenged both by life and by logic, so the only way to keep that thin grasp and handle the cognitive dissonance is to demonstrate that faith even more. While you're moving forwards, you don't need to look back.

So by fighting against a silly animated TV show, this guy gets to demonstrate his commitment to a flawed cause.

And by commenting on his blog, I get to defend my decision to sit as enraptured as my daughter, watching a CGI world of Piplings and Cheebies, with cloying music and bad child acting.

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