Archive for June, 2008

Is discrimination so bad?

June 29th, 2008

I have always thought the Northern Europeans were a fairly sensible lot and if asked for an impression (no, I’m not going to break into the “Swedish Chef” from The Muppet Show), I would say that they are less prone to political correctness than the Irish and (in particular) the British seem to be.

However, I have just read an article on the BBC website, which tells the story of a school in Sweden which has complained to the Swedish Parliament about an eight year old boy because he invited all but two of his class mates to his birthday party.

According to the article, the school said that “if invitations are handed out on school premises then it must ensure there is no discrimination”.

No discrimination? None at all?

The etymology of the verb “to discriminate” is that it comes from the Latin discriminatus, past participle of discriminare, from discrimin-, discrimen distinction, from discernere to distinguish between.

And before any smart-arse points out that they would have said it in Swedish rather than English, the  Swedish for “discriminate” is “diskriminera”, so the etymology is the same.

There are several related but subtly different definitions. Let us discriminate and choose the meaning that most closely fits the circumstances described in the article:

“to make a difference in treatment or favour on a basis other than individual merit”

The child invited everyone in the class but two. That certainly sounds like discrimination as defined above.

And what is so wrong with that?

There is no hint in the article that the two uninvited children were of a different colour, gender, religion, number of heads, language,  football team or anything else that might normally be associated with unfair discrimination.

There’s a key word in that last sentence: unfair.

Apparently the school said there should be “no discrimination”. Not that there should be no unfair discrimination. No discrimination. None at all.

What utter crap.

The article goes on to paraphrase the offending boy’s father, who supposedly said that “the two children were left out because one did not invite his son to his own party and he had fallen out with the other one.”

So, I’m not inviting you to my party because you think I’m a bollix and and I’m not inviting you over there because I  think you’re a bollix*.

Is not wanting someone at your party because you think he’s a bollix discrimination? It certainly is.

Is it unfair discrimination? Absolutely not. It’s nothing more than inviting only your friends.

I hate it when words get hijacked by the politically correct. And yes, Brother Francis who used to beat us with a cane for making spelling mistakes in primary school and who told us that it is wrong to hate, I do mean hate.

So if you are politically correct, you can fuck off.

As for the Swedes, why the hell didn’t the school head not discriminate against that teacher for being a gobshite*? Why the hell did the Parliament not tell the school to piss off and stop annoying them? Sweden must be a brilliant place to live if that’s all they have to worry about.

I wonder if that school in Lund, ever gives gold stars to children who do particularly well in class. Discrimination? Surely not!

For the benefit of the Swedes, here is a list of valid reasons for discriminating against someone:

  • They fart like a cowboy
  • They regularly punch you in the face
  • They chain smoke and you are asthmatic
  • They only listen to Country music
  • They wear counterfeit designer gear ^
  • They sell drugs
  • They are bollixes
  • They think you are a bollix

* If you are not Irish and you wish to gain a greater understanding of the usage of these terms, please refer to Introduction to Dublinese #1.

^ And no, not because that makes them cheap… because that means they are breaking the law. Ha!

Thank you Matt

June 28th, 2008

I have read some blogs that are nothing more than a collection of “Oooh look what I found on the Net”, rather than the blogger’s own, original content.

I try to avoid being one of those.

However, thanks to Twenty Major, I found the following video clip below.

I have no idea who the hell Matt is, never mind where he is, but this video he has put together needs to be spread across the world. If you have your own blog, you might consider adding this clip.

Matt’s video put a smile on my face and reminded me that despite all the troubles in the world, we are not so different after all. It’s a pity we don’t remember that more often.

Thank you, Matt. If only there were six billion more like you.


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Twenty-five metres can seem like a kilometre

June 27th, 2008

Some time ago, I realised that with each passing year that it was becoming more and more likely that I had less than half my life left, and that led to another realisation.

As we get older we find fewer and fewer new experiences throw themselves at us. If only we could remember the joy and fascination we must have felt for the world when we were six months old! New sounds, new tastes, new smells, everything so new. It’s easy now just to let the familiar haunt us. Is that why time seems to pass more quickly for us as we get older?

The solution is a simple one: seek out novelty.

Not just the transient novelty of listening to a new song or tasting a new cheese.

I mean seek out something new that becomes part of you and results in a new you.

I have various such adventures lined up for myself and I will reveal each one only as it becomes a reality,  rather than a vague aspiration.

Today is such a day. Day I became a different person.

Yesterday, I was someone who had never swum the length of a swimming pool. I never had because I could not. I didn’t have the right technique nor did I know how to breathe properly so that I could last 25 metres.

Today I am a man who can swim 25 metres.

That might not seem much to you but to me it is a world of difference.

Today I am a different man.

Aspiring Author

June 26th, 2008

My friend E.M. Dillon has just finished re-writing his novel Time Spheres: Out of Time.

To quote from his web site:

Time Spheres is the story of Ellie and Robert Plantagenet, twelve-year-olds from Shropshire in England. One day, while on a trip to Ludlow Castle, they stumble into a confrontation between two time travellers. One of the travellers, a scientist named Samudra, takes the children under her protection and in the heat of the pursuit, must take them with her back in time.

Thus begin the twins’ adventures “out of time” as they join Samudra and her companion, an artificial intelligence named Callisto. Together they must hunt down the Meddler, a shape-shifting alien who has stolen the prototype time machine, and stop him before his actions end time itself.

Anyone who would like a sneak preview can pop over to his site or read it on Authonomy.

Introduction to Dublinese #1 – Translation

June 24th, 2008

I have moved the translation of the Dublin scene I related earlier to the bottom of the original entry.

God is a bloke with Powerpoint

June 23rd, 2008

I received a chain e-mail today telling me how wonderful God is, providing the photos below as evidence of His magnificence. The sender also urged me to share the glory (or is that “Glory”?) of God by forwarding the e-mail to five others. I decided to go one better and post them here because I’m pretty sure I have at least five regular readers.

By the way, the sentient chicken scientists in the previous post are also God’s creation.

Anyway, marvel at the Glory of God!

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Chickens ‘unlock allergy secrets’

June 22nd, 2008

Chickens ‘unlock allergy secrets’

“Scientists have turned to chickens to help them understand why some people are struck down by severe allergies.”

I always suspected chickens were a lot more intelligent than we gave them credit for.

Gary Larson where are you when we need you most?

A visit to the smallest country in the world

June 22nd, 2008

Last month Gema and I spent a few days in Rome. One of the amazing things about Rome is that no matter where you turn there are Roman buildings.

We decided to take a tour of the Vatican. Strangely enough, despite my heretical ways, I did not burst into flames as soon as I set foot on holy ground (but I brought bottles of water to pour over myself just in case).

Something bothered me throughout the whole tour, though.

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Quelle partie de “Non” ne comprenez-vous pas?

June 21st, 2008

According to an article on the RTE news website, the French government isn’t happy with the fact that Ireland voted “No” to the Treaty of Lisbon.

I didn’t vote because I live in Spain, but as I am quite pro EU, I would probably have voted “Yes”. But that doesn’t mean I think there should be another referendum just because other countries aren’t happy with the outcome of this one.

Watching interviews with voters on the news, I got the impression that a lot of people who voted “No” did so because they didn’t understand the terms of the treaty. If that’s the case, then a big slap on the wrist to the Irish Government for not explaining them well.

The next step shouldn’t be another referendum just because the French don’t like the way the Irish voted, but a study to see whether or not people actually understood what they were voting on. If that study found people really didn’t understand, then there is an argument for another referendum, provided the Government bother their arses to explain the terms of the treaty properly instead of simply telling people it’s a really good idea.

In the meantime, Président de la Commission des Affaires Étrangères de l’Assemblée Nationale de France, Monsieur. Axel Poniatowski, which bit of

NO

do you not understand?

Nokia Nseries Software Launcher

June 21st, 2008

I can see that Nokia is hiring former Microsoft employees.

Personally, I think they wasted a lot of effort by using words. It would have worked just as well like this.

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