Wednesday, 22 May 2013
There is no such thing as "road tax". There is Vehicle Excise Duty. This is a tax levied on car-owners to compensate the rest of the country for the pain of having to look at their ghastly vehicles, and endure the damage to the environment that the creation of their personal manhood-extension-substitutes / oversized baby-buggies has caused. We charge more tax based on car emissions because bigger cars do more damage - not because they use more road, and the tax is proportional to the road used.
If the argument that car owners pay "road tax" had any meaning to it, we would have to ban all pedestrians from the pavements on the grounds that they have paid no "pavement tax". Indeed, if the idea of "road tax" had any mileage at all (ho ho), then the only people allowed on the pavements would be motorists, as they could argue that the road tax might also pay for the pavements (which are, after all, down the sides of the roads).
For my American readers, I should explain that pavements in England are what you call sidewalks.Cycles are like motor-bikes, but without motors.
People wonder why it is that drivers get so angry with cyclists. Aren't the answers obvious?
- They blatantly jump red lights on their machines. While normal people (ie motorists) are forced to accelerate towards traffic lights, in the hope that the amber won't go red before we get there. Of course, when we do get there, and they do turn red, we're going too fast to stop safely - and therefore we're completely justified (and completely legal) in going through them. Not like cyclists.
- They ride on the pavements. Obviously, law-abiding motorists never go on pavements. Except with only half our wheels, when we're pressed for somewhere to park. Personally I'm always very careful when parking on the pavement. I try to ensure that, should a parent with a buggy or a person in a wheelchair be forced to go on the road to get round my car, I'm parked so far onto the pavement that I leave a decent wide view down the road. That way they can see if there's any oncoming traffic.
- Should a cyclist jump a red light, or ride on the pavement, and hit a pedestrian - they'll only get a bit of a telling off for causing a few bruises. Whereas if I did the same thing, I'd be at risk of getting a charge of causing death by dangerous driving. That's just not equitable.
- I paid £30K for my car. And if I try and drive it through London, not only do I pay the congestion charge, but I spend a lot of time in traffic jams. Whereas any fool can buy a £200 bike and get through London twice as quickly as me, for free. Whose idea of justice is that?
- They wobble. Which means that, even if I leave them a good one or two feet of space when passing them, I'm at risk of their handlebars scratching my paintwork.
- Some of them don't wear helmets. Then, when they bang their heads on my windscreen, somehow that's my fault.
- Have you ever driven behind a middle-aged, lycra-clad, male cyclist? I have. For hours once. Couldn't take my eye off it. I mean, him.
- They don't pay any road tax. Which is based on emissions. Which means I get hammered for it. That's surely not right.
- They shout "hello" to each other when they pass other cyclists. It clearly states in the Highway Code that we should treat all over road-users as psychopathic numpties. So why do they act like they have things in common with each other? They are clearly communists.
- They have no reverse gear.
- They're generally younger, better-shaped, and fitter than I am. At least, they are before they make contact with my car.
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Sometimes it is important that we put ourselves on the line for our belief - really go the extra mile in defending the faith for which so many have died. And today one of those opportunities came along. I received the following email:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
I am writing to you as I feel sure that you will be as concerned about this as I was when I read this very message just two minutes ago.
There may well be, somewhere in our country, at this or another time, a stage show, musical or play in which Our Lord is portrayed in a way that is intended to be derogatory. It may well be suggesting he was a communist, a transvestite, a quiz-show contestant, a woman or something equally degrading to His nature.
The exact details - or whether any of this at all is true - are irrelevant. The important thing is that you share this message immediately with all your friends. It is unacceptable that, in what purports to be a Christian country, I can imagine a production of this kind being put on by so-called "alternative atheists", new comedians and homosexualists.
I beg you to forward this email to one hundred of your friends, acquaintances or indeed enemies (for we are called to love them, as well), so they can be as outraged at imagining this sort of thing as we are. If you do not know 100 people, make some plausible names up and suffix them with @yahoo.com - someone is bound to have that email. Or why not cut and paste it into your Facebook timeline?
97% of people are too sensible to send this on - will you be one of the few that do?
If everybody forwards this to 100 people, within 24 hours more people will have read this message than have ever lived. You can be part of a genuine miracle!
With all blessings in Christ,
Someone you've never met.
Faced with this kind of supposition, scare-mongering and pious imprecision from a comparative stranger, what else could I do? Naturally I forwarded it on to the 78 people in my address book, and 22 people whose names I could imagine. Every day, we have a cross to bear. I am proud to have shouldered mine.
Aumbry 1) Someone who was meant to be called Audrey, but the vicar had a cold at the baptism. 2) Somewhere in an evangelical church to keep flowers.
Apse - circular recess where you can get a good signal for your mobile.
Balcony - traditionally where the youth group were parked during services in some non-conformist churches. If the youngest person in the gallery is over 70, it may be worth checking downstairs to see if anyone is left.
Box pews - place for arguing parishioners.
Buttress - something that holds the Church up (see "pillar of the Church")
Chancel - "Will we be able to move the choir?" - "Chancel be a fine thing."
Children's corner - some old toys and some old carpet. Less sound-retentive than their designers seem to imagine.
Choir Gallery - In some high Methodist chapels, the choir sit behind and above the pulpit. Handy if the preacher is talking out the back of their neck.
Choir stalls - a common problem in cold weather. Best solved by switching the organ off and on again.
Coat of arms - reminder of who the Tudors really thought should be in charge.
Communion Rail - complaint that the vicar's started facing the wrong way.
Flying buttress - sign of a really fractious church meeting.
Font - Comic Sans in the Welcome Leaflet is always a bad sign.
Hot-air vents - effective method of heating roof spaces and the lower portions of people in cassocks.
List of vicars - a list of dead people, with s couple of living ones at the end, and not much space after the last one. A living parable of the church's history and likely future.
Mural 1) Person called Muriel who was baptized by a vicar with a cold 2) (Last Judgement) - reminder that, at the last day, sinners will be covered in whitewash for 400 years.
Narthex - the Doctor's most deadly foe.
Pew - hard, cold, ilong, impractical, immobile seat. Named after the fireman in Trumpton.
Popcorn maker - replacement for pulpit for Pentecost services.
Portico - door for posh people.
Pulpit - place for talking down to people. Now largely abandoned in favour of talking down to them from ground level.
Rood screen - not really rude, not a proper screen.
Victorian re-ordering - smug architectural and social disaster.
Whitewashed walls - reminder that some people really hate pleasure.
Vestibule - a small vest.
Vestry - place so cold you have to wear a vestibule.