An aetheist and his Bible! #2

March 27, 2010

I sometimes find a little pleasure in tracing back the Google searches people use to find Ethical Martini and this one is  a mystery.

Today three hits on my site were generated by a Google search on the word “bible”. Why I don’t know. I’ve just done a similar search and already 53 pages into the list generated by the B! word I still haven’t found the link to my An aetheist and his Bible.

But I did come across a couple of great sites. If ever you waiver in your aetheism, just go to either of these pages and refresh your (dis)belief.

Bible Atrocities

Bible Atrocities is a page hosted by Secular Web and managed by the Internet Infidels.

“Ah, small joys in a barbaric world.”

Evil Bible Home Page is a non-profit web site which was developed to promote atheism by revealing the wicked truth about the Bible and religion.

Chris “Ali Baba” Thiefe is currently the Editor, Web-Site Designer, and author of most of the material that does not have a “by line” associated with it.

For far too long priests and preachers have completely ignored the vicious criminal acts that the Bible promotes.  The so called “God” of the Bible makes Osama Bin Laden look like a Boy Scout.  This God, according to the Bible, is directly responsible for many mass-murders, rapes, pillage, plunder, slavery, child abuse and killing, not to mention the killing of unborn children.

“Ah, men!”

An aetheist and his Bible

March 26, 2010

It’s not very often I go searching for my copy of the Holy Bible. But whenever I find it in my brief moment of need I always say a heart-felt “Thankriste”.

Last night was one of those rare moments: it took me a while too, I had to search through acres of groaning shelves to find my barely touched King James authorised version. In this edition the actual words of Jesus himself are helpfully colour-coded.

But it wasn’t Jesus I was after last night, rather the bloody and mercenary Moses. In particular the various points in the Old Testament where he receives the absolutely must obey rules from a vengeful and jealous God.

I was seeking out the various passages in Exodus – the bit that explains Bob Marley’s drug habit –  and Dudedontneuterme – the bit where the Levi-wearing Midianites beg Moses not to cut their bits off (in vain it turns out) – where the Ten Commandments are explained.

“And, as a level 7 aetheist, you are doing this why?” At least that was the reaction from a disbelieving Mrs Martini. She didn’t even know we had a Holy Bible in the house and she was most amused that I would choose it as my bedtime reading.

“Well actually, Moac,” I carefully explained, “I’m reading Vanity Fair and the Bible’s only here as a reference guide.”

Moac gets this; while doing her BA she was told to read the Holy Bible (I always feel there should be an exclamation mark here, like this: “Holy Bible! Batman.”) as it was the foundation for a lot of literary references. I pointed out to her that the late, great HST swore by the Bible. He swore at pretty much everything, but that’s another story.

Mr Hitchens carving himself a new one

This story is about the essay in VF by Christopher Hitchens in which he argues that the Ten Commandments should be revised and redacted. The points he makes – which is why I needed the Holy Bible! – are that at the various times in Exodus and Dudedontneuterme where the tablets of stone are mentioned, the wording does indeed change and that the surly and obviously mad-as-a-hatter Moses even smashes the original set in anger. An even angrier God has him go back up the fuckenmountain for another 40 days and 40 nights** to hew some more freakentablets.

I didn’t know, until I read in Hitchen’s piece that the Ten Commandments had changed from one passage to another. The Vanity Fair piece is worth a read; Exodus was a classic piece of reggae-rock;  the book of Dudedontneuterme is worth a laugh, but it’s far too frightening for children.

The New Commandments: Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair, April 2010

** I checked: this is not the same 40 days and 40 nights during which the earth flooded and Noah’s ark ended up on another fuckenmountain.

Chat roulette – too much weirdness for me

March 17, 2010

I’ve just spent about 20 minutes on the latest gimmick website Chat Roulette; I won’t be going back for a second look.

One round of weirdness is enough for me.

In case you’ve missed it – and that would be hard, given the press coverage in the past two weeks – Chat Roulette is an even more instant and ephemeral application than Twitter.

The basic premise is that you go to the site and turn on your webcam. You are then randomly connected with the other users – when I checked it out late on a Kiwi Wednesday afternoon there were 20000 similarly bored souls linked in.

I few of the “partners” I was connected with didn’t have their cameras on and all I can say after my brief excursion is that was probably a good thing.

I managed to capture some screen shots of the worst offenders, but why they would go to the trouble, I don’t know. I suppose the chances of finding someone to play hand music with are higher on Chat Roulette than just about anywhere else online – at least for free. But these unattractive specimens would cause most sensible people (me included) to quickly hit the “next” button.

Adults only content after the jump. Please don’t go there if you’re offended by fat hairy bellies and scruffy men’s undies.

Some sensible people write about Chat Roulette

Zoe Williams in The Guardian

Sam Jones in The Guardian

Rebecca Barry in the NZ Herald

Read the rest of this entry »

Martini reading: There’s joy in the art of everyday drinking

January 23, 2010

Moac and Em are blessed with some very good friends; the sort who buy you really good books that they know you’ll enjoy.
Over the holidays I’ve been lucky to have friends who care for me and want to help me on my quest to build a good library of drinking books.

I’ve already mentioned, several times, the excellent Martini: A memoir, by the Australian writer Frank Moorhouse. His stories of martini-drinking and avoidance of the dreaded crazy drinks are a real pleasure.

I haven’t mentioned so often the great little book about whisky, Raw Spirit, by Scottish writer Ian M Banks. Banksy is usually known for his sci-fi, or humorous and fantastic novels, but his whisky book is a good read and a handy primer on some of the finer single malts available to the serious tippler.

Raw Spirit is as much a travel story as it is a serious guide to drinking good Scotch. Banks and his fellow-travelers move around the various distilling areas of Scotland in search of the perfect dram. They have fun doing it too.

But this summer my reading has been a little more eclectic courtesy of Kingsley Amis and Victoria Moore.

Amis is well known to most adults who’ve ever read a book in English. He was a British novelist and essayist of some note and one of his most treasured pass-times was sharing a glass with pals. Amis wasn’t a fussy drinker. He pretty much would drink anything, but he hated stingey hosts with a passion.

In 2008 three of his less famous texts on drinking were published together for the first time in one volume: Everyday drinking: The distilled Kingsley Amis. What I like about this book is that it is unpretentious. It’s not all about the most expensive French wines, or the finest Cognacs (though they do get a mention).

This is a book about everyday drinking: the sort we like to do with friends on a Friday after work, or on a weekend. In daylight hours, during the evening, late at night and into the early hours of the following day.

But of course, I’m not advocating binge drinking. Let’s remember, it’s not what you drink, but how you drink that counts.

Amis is advocating educated drinking, without it becoming a form of one-upmanship. Though his tips for how to shill your guests if they overstay their welcome is priceless.

The other great part of this book is the recipes, most of which are not available in modern cocktail books. One that I tried a few times over the Xmas period – with a dozen Clevedon oysters – was Black Velvet. This is a heady combination of champagne and stout. Delicious, refreshing and so, so good with ice-cold oysters on a warm summer evening.

I’ve never been one for self-help books, but Victoria Moore’s How to Drink, was on my Christmas list (thanks Moac) and I’ve really enjoyed it. How to Drink is an updated version of Amis for the noughties. It has recipes too, but the main difference is that it also has sections on coffee, tea and soft drinks. It’s not a soak’s progress, it’s a serious (well, semi-serious) guide to modern drinking etiquette and some historical stuff about gin, brandy, various teas and coffee blends and the all important Armagnac V. Cognac debate.

I don’t have a position on that yet, but I bought a bottle of armagnac this weekend and I’m sure I’ll be comparing notes with Ms Moore soon enough.

Just so you know how things have changed since Kingsley Amis wrote the material that has been collected in Everyday Drinking. If you want to keep up with Victoria Moore, you can join her Facebook page, or follow her blog at The Guardian.

Mr Amis would be growling into his porter, right about now…punk, soul brother, but that’s for later.

Tonight I’m having an Empire State of mind.

The Arrival – magical mystery tour with bite

March 14, 2009
Red Leap's adaptation of The Arrival 2009
Red Leap’s production of The Arrival, Auckland March 2009

I’ve just been to see The Arrival a new production that’s had its world premiere at this year’s Auckland Festival.

The Arrival is a piece of physical theatre and interpretive dance created by Kate Parker and Julie Nolan with assistance from leading New Zealand dance muse Michael Parmenter (described as Movement Consultant in the programme) and set to haunting music by Andrew McMillan.

The production is based on a comic novel by Australian writer and illustrator Shaun Tan, but if you’re thinking Watchmen you’re way off.

Read the rest of this entry »

A nice day in London

October 13, 2008

I went for a walk along what seems to be the busiest mile of footpath in London this weekend. It’s a stretch of path and parkland on the south bank of the Thames that goes from Southwark bridge past the Tate Modern, the Globe, National and BFI theatres and lots of cafes and bars.

The weather was beautiful and my companion was my cousin Jo, whom I hadn’t seen for 20 years. We had a wonderful conversation, catching up on family and our own lives.

We stopped for a coffee just near the British Film Institute and this amazing little dinghy (?) came whizzing past us on the Thames. The tide was going out and the tiny boat was moving very quickly. It was an amusing moment as the sailboat was dwarfed by everything else on the river that day.

Neglecting the blog

November 28, 2007

Dear reader, it’s been a while; I’m sorry. Seriously, I have been way too busy to bother with a blog entry for quite some time.
Lots has happened, some of it quite central to my concerns about journalism and ethics. There’s been some martinis drunk too. Last night for instance the old “one martini too far”.
I suffered today, but feeling better now that I’m home.

The busy part of the year is over for me, now I just have to get started on the book manuscript “Journalism in the age of YouTube”. Over the next few weeks I will not be so negligent. I will attend to the blog every day and post religiously (as only a level 7 aetheist can).

Meanwhile, it’s spring here and the weather’s improving. So much so that before too long I’ll be jumping into the blue Pacific and shedding my winter fat (he said hopefully).