Friday 26 May 2017

Cute Cat Friday 2017-05-26: Joni

Snoozing in a favourite spot on the rocking chair.

Living Well Is The Best Revenge

This week, 22 people were killed and 116 injured by a terrorist bombing in Manchester.

The targets of this attack were concert-goers, most of them young women and girls. They were harming no one. They wanted a night out to celebrate their love of music, and watch one of their favourite performers. A young man wanted so badly to kill them that he was willing to sacrifice his own life to do it.

In response to such hatred, we have to go on living. That means not merely surviving, but living in accordance with our greatest joys and highest values.

It means we must remember the values of compassion, tolerance and the rule of law. They have enabled us to build a free and prosperous society, imperfect though it may be.

It means we must cherish life, happiness and hope for the future. The bombing was an act of vicious hatred, but also one of profound and utter hopelessness. The bomber saw no hope for his personal future; he felt the best thing he could do with his life was end it, along with many others.

We will not live like this. We will not live in the fearful, joyless, stunted condition that the likes of ISIS wish upon us, and practice for themselves in the territories they rule.

Today I am going to the Cambridge Beer Festival. I am going to share in the simple enjoyment of good drink, good food, and good company on what promises to be a warm sunny day.

Needless to say, ISIS would not approve. There will be beer and pork pies involved; but that's not what really matters here. If you don't drink alcohol, or eat particular animal products, fine. It's the enjoyment that will really get to them.

Do what makes yourself and others happy. Share a meal with a friend, call a relative on the phone, be kind to a stranger. Paint a picture, write a story, plant a garden.

In the end, this is what we have. We are motes of life on the surface of a ball of rock hurtling through an incomprehensibly vast universe. Each one of us is a spark of awareness in the dark ocean of eternity, infinitesimally tiny and magnificently important.

Knowing this, hatred and fear are hollow things, which we will not allow to overcome us.

Scene from the 2010 Cambridge Beer Festival.
Image source: Shaggy359, Wikimedia Commons

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Friday 19 May 2017

Cute Cat Friday 2017-05-19: Joni

Lurking in the tall grass, like a ferocious tiger.


What if Tony Blair never went to war in Iraq?

I've been thinking about this question, in the context of Brexit and the general election. How might things be different by now?

Demonstration against the Iraq War in Universe Alpha.

Friday 12 May 2017

Cute Cat Friday 2017-05-12: Joni

In a state of advanced relaxation.

Nice Guy Syndrome

The Nice Guys Finish Last trope is widespread in popular culture, and I've come to realise it applies to the Labour party.

In this trope, women go for the arrogant bastards instead of unsexy nice guys. Sometimes the "nice guys" in question become angry, bitter, and in fact not nice at all, as illustrated by XKCD:

Source: XKCD
Labour is clearly entering the "angry and bitter" stage of Nice Guy Syndrome.

Friday 5 May 2017

Cute Cat Friday 2017-05-05: Wimpole Courtyard Cat

Resident cat in the stable courtyard at Wimpole Estate near Cambridge. This handsome fellow is elderly but very friendly. The piles of wool behind him are being hand-spun into yarn.

Belief and the Supervillain

Conspiracy theories can be comforting, to bloggers and heads of government alike.

If a shadowy cabal of supervillains is responsible for wars, terrorist attacks and economic recessions, then it's scary, but also kind of cool. It provides reassurance that at least someone is in charge. If you can divine the motives of the grand conspiracy, you might be able to oppose it or at least stay out of its way.

Our Prime Minister, looking particularly villainous.
Image source: Buzzfeed