Monday, 31 December 2012

Review of the Year (YAWN)

This episode is headed by the incredibly dreary label above, because I've written on Facebook how glad I am not to have to put together a twelve-page section  summing up the past year for any newspaper, any more.

It's never much fun, and this past year would be a particular pain to have to go back through because, for a lot of people, it's been fairly bloody.
What with the crisis and all.
Going to the dentist to have all one's teeth pulled out  is far more appealing.

But, Reb and I, and our families and assorted animals, have suffered mercifully little or nothing the last twelvemonth.
Nobody has been hospitalised except her Mother, who seems much better now. I think a chicken died, but they do that, and are buried like Christians, with due ceremony, as is their right.

In fact, for us, and Moratinos, it's been a year of growth and tranquillity.

The village now has its own restaurant and bar, grandly-named "El Castillo," and built into the bodegas, while we at The Peaceable have a new dog, Bella and a new cat, Moses, commonly known as Moe.

I seem to have spent the entire year arguing with Catholics about Gay Marriage, a subject with seemed trivial enough to me at first - why not, was my thought - but is, or so it would seem, the most momentous and potentially civilisation-threaterning event since The Russian Revolution.
Yes, I know I should know better, but, as Reb says, it keeps me off the streets and that is important as Moratinos only has two.

Anyway, here's a bit I was going to put on the catholic blog to which I contribute frequently. Far too frequently for some..
I really think Old Ben is simply mistaken in this case.
We all know about Alan Turing, because he's famous, but millions of people lived and died in fear, as a result of being born “gay.” We all know that. And they still do in, Nigeria, Uganda,  and suchlike moral swamps.
I have personally known men friends whose lives were made miserable from trying to avoid following their sexual “inclination,” because it was “sinful” and who have told me they wished they were not born so afflicted.
Because a lot of folk are simply born “gay.” God knows why. Possibly. 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Too late for Turing

It is Alan Turing Year, I discover. Just in time, too, with mere days of it left. Turing was a mathematical genius who did vital code-breaking  work during the war. He was also "gay," and committed suicide as a result of this failing on his part.

Ironic, I think, that it is also Gay Marriage Year, in no uncertain terms, albeit unofficial.

On CP&S, (q.v.) some will know, I'm involved in endless bickering about the rights and wrongs of this subject, but you'd have to go and look it up on there to get the whole rather dreary  picture.

Up until 1967, homosexual acts between men were illegal in England. Turing would have been 55 in 1967. Not too old to still be using his extraordinary brain for this sorry planet's benefit. But he'd been unable to curb that side of his nature, and had to pay for his "crime" thirteen years before.

It was his "cross," and he couldn't bear it.

I don't know what makes gays the way they are.
My suspicion is that they're born that way, and can do little about it.
They can follow their inclinations, or they can try not to, if they feel they morally shouldn't.
Much like the rest of us; like me, at least.

Those that do lead "gay" lives, do so still in the face of a good deal of often malicious prejudice. It's inevitable, and most of them can laugh at it.
What's more, several of them do so publicly, amusingly, and are well paid for it.
And why not? At least the fear of jail and blackmail has been largely removed.

Anyway, if Alan Turing had been born in 1982, instead of 1912, he might just be considering getting married right now.

And I, for one, would see no logical, moral, or practical reason for trying to prevent him.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Mile Stones

The story on the link above caught my eye. In 1963, Pat Doncaster , the Daily Mirror's "disc" columnist, handed me a picture of the Stones posed outside a line of telephone booths.
I've seen it since but can't find it right now. But it was likely taken during the same session as the one above.

I looked at the snap, and asked Pat, "What's the point of them all being so ugly?" Pat didn't know, but assured me the lads were, "..going to be very big." It was one of the few things Pat got right.
One of his miscalulations was that smoking was, as he put it, "...good for the lungs. Toughens 'em up. Look at me. Smoked all my life and I'm trained like an astronaught."

Unsurprisingly, Pat went to his reward a good many years ago.

What is very surprising, however, is that Mick, Keith and Bill are still above ground. Alive! And even kicking a bit.
A glowing tribute to the healing and sustaining powers of debauchery,
I suggest.

And I myself am still alive, albeit a bit doddery. 

Which is -  I suppose - also mildly surprising, although I have led a life of almost monkish and scholarly rectitude and have very often been sober for several hours at a time.

Cause for a certain satisfaction, innit? Yeah!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Earnest Importance of Being Gay

By some curious, yet not onerous, irony - Toad seems to have become, ipso facto, (whatever that means) spokesman for "The Gays" in certain quarters.

For he is not gay himself. However, as was at one time said about Jews, many of his friends are "Gay."

The word itself is tiresome, as we all agree - but what's the alternative? Queer? Not unfashionable among homosexuals themselves these days. But no, not for Toad at least. Gay it will be.

The gays are in the news all right. It seems they are all clamouring to get married. The "straights" on the other hand, appaear to have rather lost interest in what "Eton Dave" Cameron describes as "The Great Institution." (...and I won't make the old joke yet again)

More irony here with on one side people screaming, "Gays can't get married  - it's against the natural law!" and on the other people screaming "Gays are the only people who want to get married! It's natural to want to be married!"

Is it?
On the whole, the answer must be yes. People persist in doing it, often rashly, so it must be natural. But then,  people persist in being "Gay" often stubbornly, which is not natural, we are sternly informed. Hmmm.

So, the question for today is "Is being Gay "natural?"
If not, why did God (Yes, we're finally round to Him!) create, if that is the mot juste, so many of them?
Around 8% in the U.K. Toad has read; no way of confirming this figure, still, it'll do. One in twelve of us. Long odds but not astronomical. Enough to be the cause of trouble a good deal anyway.
Like with the Jews. (Among whom, Toad also has many friends.)

Second question for today: What is The Natural Law? Is flying in Boeing 792s natural? If God had wanted us to fly, wouldn't he have given us air miles? Does the fact that He doesn't (at least not to everyone) prove that He doesn't exist? No: Probably not.

Third question: If there is a Natural Law (which Jeremy Bentham highly doubted) is it wrong to break it?

Fourth question: Do miracles break The Natural Law? If they do, then why should not Gays?

I'm afraid there may be more questions to come on this highly overrated topic - maybe tomorrow.
The sun is finally up, and Reb is up and the dogs are up and baying in chorus like the wolves they once all were.
Times change, and today, I doubt if more than one dog is twelve is a wolf, and I've only got five, so I'm probably safe.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Going to Hell

Toad in dog Heaven. An "old" pic, as Bella (white) is now bigger than Harry (brown)

People must be wondering why Toad, (me) on CP&S, (Catholicism, Pure & Simple - it's neither, of course) keeps harping on about Eternal Damnation.

But maybe not – it's a concept of some significance if it happens to be true, and a shockingly revolting one if it isn't.

In fact, it's a shockingly revolting concept either way, when you think about it. Enough to give any child the heebie-jeebies! Did the Toadpole, at least! 

Lewis Carroll, a great genius and saintly man, whom Toad hugely admires, and who was an Anglican minister of sorts, said he could accept the whole of Christianity, apart from that one hideous aspect.
He probably had a few reservations about wicked old popes as well, but that's another topic altogether.

One of the CP&S team says that very likely only people who “Hate God” go to Hell.
Toad has great difficulty in understanding how anyone could hate God, but let's put that on one side, for now.
(Except what they might be hating is the idea of God. Which is clearly not the same thing. And anyway, their idea of God might be wrong. Probably is. What then?)

The real point of this laborious rumination, however, is that apparently attitudes are now considerably, relatively, different in the Catholic Church then they were some 55 years ago - when Toad was still in his teens.
Back then it wasn't necessary to “hate” God in order to be eternally damned – all that was required was to be in a state of mortal sin.

Which could be achieved, briskly and easily, by playing truant from Mass on Sundays, for no “good” reason.

How masturbation, and looking at a bikini-clad Brigitte Bardot in "Tit Bits Magazine," rated on the Mortal sin-scale chart is now vague to Toad.

It would be nice to be told if the Mass-missing bit is still relevant.

Oh, and this nightmarish scenario of devils endlessly poking you with toasting forks in an inferno could happen to anyone over seven, "The age of reason," an age, it would seem, that's still beyond Toad. To fill a small child's head with such pernicious nonsense , as the good nuns did to little Toadito was, in retrospect, a sin.
But it would be erroneous to imagine they saw it that way..

In Toad's youth, practically everything interesting was a sin.
Girls (in his case, not boys) were paramount. Just sexually lucky, apparently. As was dancing too close to girls. As was reading "The Three Musketeers," both activities which nowadays Toad does not have the slightest inclination to do. Tempi cambi.

More importantly, he was taught as a matter of absolute fact – not whimsical speculation – that no Non-Catholics were going to Heaven, and very likely not a great many Catholics either, particularly if they persisted in doing paper rounds on Sunday mornings.
Damned by association with the Press way back then!
Irony and prophecy seamlessly combined!

Someone else on CP&S suggested the idea of going to Hell for all eternity was “scary.”
Yes, the idea certainly is. The reality, if such it is is somewhat beyond scary. Way beyond. Insane, I think.

And the idea that a being of total goodness and all perfections could even consider not stopping someone, anyone, of manifestly inferior moral material to themselves, being sent there - is even scarier.
Because, if the sinner involved insists on going there - then he, or she, simply don't know what's good for them.
And should be pitied. And quickly put straight. Not infinitely casigated.
If my dogs insist on trying to run into the traffic, I prevent them. I want them to enjoythemselves and not feel constrained by the leads, but Free Will can go too far for their own good. And the idea that I treat them better than God treats humans is inescapable.

For what would God have to gain (or lose) from damning people?
Nothing. He does it for nothing, then?

So the hell with Hell.

But we shall see. Maybe. Quite soon. Possibly.