Monthly Archives: January 2008

The Rain In Alice Springs

Many thanks to Yay for her weather update from Alice Springs. I was most concerned to hear that it was raining there during the summer.

I have undertaken a great deal of scientific study of this, utilising the interwebnetpornfinder and my memory of my old A level Geography notes. After much deliberation I can advise the following:

1, It does rain in the desrt during summer.

2. The current problem at Alice Springs is down to a combination of global warming and global boring.
You see that the Earth is being overheated by the tourists who insist on visiting Hairy Rock and Alice Band Sprungs. This is effecting the Aaamoolaboola Current that flows below the Earth’s crust under Alice Springs. Global Boring has caused the current to move 200 miles East in order to escape the scientists and politicians that are prodding and probing it.

3. There are so many sweating tourists that it is causing sweat clouds to form over the town and thus the rain at this unseasonal time.

I have contacted Professor Heinrich von Blumenleiderhosen at the department of Tropical Sheep Dip at the University of Nockatunga. He said: “What are ya talking about, you Pommie dingo pup?”

President G W Thornbush commented that Global Warming is a clear and present danger to his retirement. As such he’s purchased a 1500 square mile area of the Rocky Mountains that he assures me will be beachfront property in the next 30-50 years – “Yee-Haa, Yaaawwwlll!!!”.

This is irrevocable proof of my theories and explains why it has been raining in Alice Springs.

Oirish

Today we booked our flights to Ireland; that green and pleasant land just West of Fishguard.

I have to meet one of my main customers, for the first time in 8 years, and have decided to make a weekend of it. The good thing is that we’re going to Limerick and not Dublin. It is also the weekend that Wales play Ireland in the 6 Nations – also sandwiched between 2 wedding weekends.

We have been told to make sure drive up the coast to visit Galway and see Galway Bay (not sing it). As the flights are early morning we’ve decided to return on the Monday morning. Hopefully this will give us an opportunity to discover other parts of Western Ireland. I’d love to see Cork and Cobh.

Ireland is a lot like Swansea – wet & windy. However it is the home of Guinness, Murphys and Beamish – something that Swansea has but not of the same quality. It is also the home of diddly diddly music, Enya and Clannad – 2 out of 3 I can stomach…. The people in Ireland are also far more friendly – have you met Swansea Wibbloggers????

DOOOOMED!!!!

Today I’ll mainly be heading for the secret underground bunker that I built last night while FW was sleeping. You see we’re all under threat from an asteroid that is going to passing “close” to Earth.

Then, just before moving into the bunker, I discovered that “close” actually means 343,000 miles away. Now that is not close by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe in terms of “space” it is deemed close but not by any earthly definition I know of.

However the Eggheads are going to use this as an opportunity to discover the best means of destroying an asteroid. Then, when the big one comes, they’ll know what to do. I hear that Bruce Willis is strapping on his spacevest as we speak and muttering “Yippeekayaaaaa Mo’fo”. Yes, some scientific nutter has decided that Hollywood had a good idea to destroy one using missiles. Know they’re going to work out if it’s possible.

I however hoave come up with a sure fire way of dealing with such “Deathly Destruction From Space”. I’m going to propse that we make a giant cricket bat that we’ll orbit near to the International Space Station (White Elephant for short). Then when asteroids approach Earth they can be sliced to deep square leg or returned over the bowler’s head for 4.

Of course, it would be best NOT to use an English batsman for this sort of big occasion.

Going Underground

Bimble wins the award for “Most Anal Knowledge of Thomas The Tank Engine Stories”.

Henry did indeed require Welsh coal to run his boiler. Everyone knows that Welsh Anthracite was the best coal you could get. It burnt more efficiently, cleanly and produced more power. We still have a few hundred years worth burined under our soil if anyone is interested.

I’ve even thought of opening a deep mine on our allotment patch in order to kick start the Welsh mining revolution. I haven’t suggested this to FW yet mind. Knowing her she’ll have some feeble objection on the grounds of environmental damage or some other woolly, liberal excuse.

The End

Today marked the final closure of the last deep mine in Wales.

Tower Colliery in Hirwaun was the last of the Welsh mining industry. 30 years ago almost every village or town in the vallies had a coal mine. King Coal was the biggest employer throughout the vallies and wales was righly called the Cradle of the Industrial Revolution. Millions of pounds were made by mine-owners prior to nationalisation in 1948. Almost every family had a member who worked down the mine.

Those days ended almost 25 years ago, following the miner’s strike. We were warned that the government wanted to shutdown our mines once and for all. We were told that our coal was too expensive compared to foreign coal. There was no future in our own coal industry.

To a certain extent they were right but time has shown that there was still a place for our coal industry. Tower Colliery was bought by its own miners and has shown that it was still possible to profitably mine Welsh coal.

Many people who worked down the mines were glad to see the back of them. They were dark, noisy, dangerous places that were also a hazard to your health; if a cave-in didn’t kill you then the dust probably would. It was not an industry that promised a long life.

So today we say goodbye to 200 years of Welsh history. Some of the workers are off to work in drift mines but the days of deep mining in Wales are gone – maybe not forever but who knows.

Choo! Choo!

There was good news for the people at the top end of our valley today.

The Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway have been awarded £1million (must be said in a Dr Evil way to get full effect) to extend the line to the site of the Blaenavon High Level Station. This is a great leap forward and a welcome addition to steam preservation railway. They are hoping that this will help to boost tourism into the vallies.

Blaenavon already has the Big Pit – a chance to sample life underground in a former deep coal mine. This attracts about 250,000 visitors a year to the town. Yet there is an underlying problem to this – very few actually visit Blaenavon itself.

A few years ago Blaenavon was set on the road to reinvigeration by evolving into a Book Town. 2nd hand bookshops opened up and things seemed to move along well. Within 18 months things had returned to normal, shops had closed and visitors into the town had vanished. There are small signs of renewal but still few visitors.

I hope that this time there will be a permanent change in Blaenavon’s fortunes. You never know the dream of connecting the town with Pontypool by rail may come off.

Wiblog entry for 23/01/2008

The title of my last post has drawn enquiries from my wife.

Unbeknownst to me she actually had such a jar of Olives lurking at the back of the fridge. I hate olives so she assumed that I was drawing reference to her inability to finish the said jar.

On this occasion I am actually completely innocent. I think that this could be a personal first.

Heretic II – The Heresy Is Here (Down There Just Behind That Jar of Olives You Never Eat)

After yesterday’s post I remembered reading The Protestant Revolution. This follows the history of the Protestant faith from the Reformation until today and looks at how it has evolved and the impact it has had on our modern way of life – not just the religious but the secular impact as well.

One of the things that comes out is that the Protestant movement has no unifying tenets, as you would find in Catholic or Orthodox belief. In addition there has never been any real form of theological unity but sects have split off as they form their own belief structure. In anything other than religion this could be seen as a good thing as thought evolves. However faith should be a unifying instrument.

One of the problems the authors noted is that Protestant belief puts a great emphasis on the directing influence of the Holy Spirit and personal belief. One thing it points out is that this can be used by any crackpot as a basis for sowing dissent and splitting the church apart further. As their is no unified theological body in the Protestant body then there is no place to test these theological differences and gain concensious. Having said that you only have to look at the Anglican church to see how that isn’t always possible even when there is such a body.

Yet we need to find a way to both unify our divided faith, if only to better defend ourselves from the attacks that rain down on us from all sides at the moment. It is difficult to fight government policies and aethisitic propaganda when we are victims of our own divisions.

In theory we should have no problem because we should be unite by our Christian beliefs. Yet we can’t even decide whether some things are wrong or should be tolerated. As much as Jesus’ teaching was clear about faith in God, He was never one to pull away from criticising the wrongs that He saw. Unfortunately not everything He saw and spoke out against is recorded. If it were then our path wold be a lot easier than it is now.

This can be refelcted in the WWJD movement. We can’t all follow this in every day life because our own interpretations are put on the decisions we’d make. Therefore this could be described as a heresy in itself.

Heretic

While listening to our sermon this morning we were woken from our slumber to hear that many people are heretics. Looking at some comments posted on wiblogs recently this seems to be a word that is gaining currency amongst Christians at this time.

The poeple being described as such today are those who do not belive in 7 day Creatonism as fact. Personally I can agree with this to a certain extent from both sides.

1. The world was created in 6 days. Therefore 7 day creationism is a heresy in itself.
2. Many Christians find it hard to accept that the fossil record and Genesis do not conform to this teaching and therefore Genesis must be wrong – or not to be taken literally.
3. Creationists believe that Genesis should be taken literally and science is therefore wrong.

Personally I couldn’t give a flying wotsit who is or isn’t 100% correct.

I believe:

1. God created the world – how He did it, how long it took Him and how old Methusaleh was when he died aren’t important to me. The fact is that God created the world from nothing. Whether the process took 6 days, 10 years, 8 centuries or 400 million years matters little to me.
2. I believe that all organisms, and the world itself, evolve to meet the changing environment and has done since the dawn of time.
3. I DO NOT believe in the evolution of species and its ability to cross genus. We DID NOT evolve from apes but the opposite could be true – in some ways they have a better grasp on living than we do.
4. There is a possiblity that mankind could have existed at the time of some dinosaurs – how else do you explain fossilised footprints of human and dinosaur being found together. However I may be wrong about this.

To me we are all heretics. We have to be because Christians all believe different meanings of the same truth – why else do we have so many different denominations. However you cannot be saved unless you believe in God, the death and resurrection of His Son – who IS God – and the guiding hand of the Holy Ghost/Spirit – who is ALSO God.

Whether you believe that God wants us to drink wine, because Jesus turned water into wine, or not drink wine because of what it cause you to do, is a personal choice. Just because someone else believes the opposite does not make them wrong – thus a heretic.

There are certain absolutes that we should all adhere to but we need to remember that Jesus wasn’t sent to divide God’s followers but to draw us nearer to Him. To show us that a purely dogmatic view and inflexible faith will not save us but drive a wedge between us and God. That doesn’t mean that we water down what we believe in but that we proclaim it at every possible opportunity.

Whatever you do please remember that you have no right to call anyone a heretic – whether you do it from the pulpit or in another way. That is you judging someone by your own interpretation of right and wrong – if you’re God then that’s fine, if you aren’t then go and remove that HUGE log from your own eye first. It is also possible that you misread the context of what is being said. You need to engage and discuss to find out what is meant.

Disagreement is healthy; discussion and debate are to be welcomed but a failure to listen and to understand is leaving the way open to unnecessary division and hatred.

Remember that we all need to learn from history. Jesus was killed because His message was diametrically opposite to religious belief held by the religious caste of His time. The church has been just as bad through Inquisition and Reformation.

It won’t take much for mankind to get the racks and bonfires going again.

They’re Designed To Fly Like Bricks

With yesterday’s failed landing at Heathrow thoughts took me back to the Concorde crash in Paris. Then I was based at GE Aircraft Engines, where they overhauled the engines. For the next few days things were very tense, their were nervous meetings and many people wandered quietly along the corridors and across the repair shop floors.

The problem with aircraft is that there are many things that can go wrong, especially so on aircraft built in the last 15 years. As with Concorde and the initial 9/11 attacks, no one knew exactly what had happened when the first reports came in; the first reports were that the main under carriage had collapsed.

When I heard that the crash had probably occured due to power failure I immediately thought of the people in the various Rolls Royce and GE engine shops. BA 777 are powered by either GE90 or Rolls Royce Trent 800 engines – though this is overlooked by the media who only mention the Trents. They will already have people meeting the air accident investigators to begin the task of discovering th ecause of the crash.

Thankfully there was no loss of life and the crash was not too serious. This means that the flight recorders will be easily accesible and quickly analysed. We should know very shortly the cause and what remedial action can be taken to ensure that a similar event does not occur.

We should all be grateful that this did not happen a few minutes earlier. Considering the population density around Heathrow we could have seen many lives lost.

Yet, with today’s 24 hour news operations, the networks are always trying to fill dead air to stretch the stories out. The BBC were guilty of this yesterday when they tried to get an Air Accident Investigator to commit to a cause, even after he’d stated that he wouldn’t speculate without some evidence. He was met wit the phrase: “We don’t want to speculate on this but what do you think….”