Saturday 31 December 2011

The A-Z of 2011 Blogposts

This year I only posted 428 times on this blog. Well down on last year but we all know the reason for that. However, I decided to see if using the alphabet could I come up with a cross section of what I had written to sum it up.

I warn you in advance some posts may require tissues other loose fitting shirts in case you split your sides with laughter.

A is for Advent Calendar (well worth a browse through this little collection if you haven't already)
B is for Blood Ban
C is for Christina Taylor Green born on The day world tragedy and died in and on another
D is for Derry, First, Presbyterian Church
E is for Effin
F is for Fox, Liam
G is for Gay Off Switch
H is for Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
I is for IDAHO Day
J is for Jeffrey Donaldson fact checked
K is for Knight to see you to see you Knight
L is for Language, use of
M is for MTV EMAs
N is for Northstead, Maor nua ar an Mhainéir na
O is for The Open
P is for Pride being repugnant
Q is for Questions to the Prime Minister
R is for Reevsey
S is for Lis Sladen
T is for Theological non-look at homosexuality by PCI
U is for Union, European
V is for Vulcan Hobbits
W is for Will and Testement (pre-rapture version)
X is for Xavier Tondo
Y is for Yes (or rather no) to fairer votes
Z is for Zero (is in getting to)

My Predictions for 2012

Somehow I didn't get around to publishing any predictions for 2011 so I don't have to report back on my annual abysmal performance. However, I'm up and ready for another go this year.

  1. Andy Murray will win in Australia in past years I have hedged my bets with Andy saying he will win a Grand Slam event either in Australia or the USA. This year after his Asian Autumn and the fact that Novak Djoković showed that Rafa and Fed can be beaten he will return after the injury at the end of season World Tour Finals he'll be back to go one better than both 2010 and 2011.
  2. Barak Obama will be President and president elect. Of course the next term doesn't start until January 2013 but Obama with new running mate Hillary Clinton will see off the republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. He will do so despite losing both North Carolina and Florida among the big scoring states in the electoral college.
  3. Rory McIlroy will win The Masters. After the blow up on the final nine holes at Augusta last year the Northern Irish golfer will come back and dominate the event on the course that suits his style of play. He will again lead after the 2nd and 3rd days. Pushing if not taking some of the records along the way. But on the 63rd hole of the Tournament the 10th on the last day he hits his tee shot straight down the middle. He birdies to extend his lead and heads back towards the inevitable green jacket.
  4. Kim Jong-un will be overthrown. Before the end of the year the people of North Korea will overthrow the inherited dictatorship of the Kim family. The young leader will not survive a year in his new position. He will flee in exile to Japan where he will enjoy the freedom he experienced briefly when he studied in Switzerland, handing power over peacefully to the people's uprising leadership.
  5. British women will shine at the Olympics the men will not do badly either. Beth Tweddle will retire after an inspired performance sees he lift gold in the Uneven Bars. Rebecca Addlington will win double gold again! Keri-Ann Payne will win the swimming marathon in the Serpentine. Sarah Stevenson will lift the Tae Kwan Do gold. Despite all this success some of the above will not make the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist.
  6. Greece will send its smallest ever team the founding nation of the Olympics will because of economic constraints send its smallest ever Olympic team just to maintain it's ever presence at the games. It will fail to send any teams for the team events, rowers or equestrians because of the cost and only send individuals and sailors who are able to get their own boats to Weymouth.
  7. Manx Missile will take Green and Gold. Mark these dates in your diary 4th, 5th, 6th,14th, 16th, 22nd and 28th July. The first six will be the stage wins that take Mark Cavendish to a second consecutive Green Jersey in the Tour the France the final one is after that little training jaunt around France (Belgium and Switzerland) sees him find along the Mall to pump the air wearing the Team GB jersey he wore to the rainbow jersey to Olympic gold.
  8. A DUP MLA will take part in Belfast Pride. Maybe I will fall down on this one but I really want to see the DUP take up the invite to engage with the other parties in the debate that is now traditionally part of the Belfast Pride week. I don't expect them to take part in the parade this year but a step to turn up to the debate with our politicians is a step in the right direction and will take place in the year that Jeff Dudgeon has received an MBE in the New Years Honours.
  9. William and Kate will give birth to a daughter. The third in line to the throne a Princess whose position will not be usurped by a subsequent brother will arrive in the Autumn/Winter of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year. After speculation she will be called Diana in the press it is announced her name shall be Margaret Elizabeth Victoria.
  10. Gareth Malone gets a gong. In the Queen's Birthday Honours Gareth Malone will have bestowed upon him for services to choral music and the armed forces the honour of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). Sam Stevenson representing the women of the Military Wives Choir will be bestowed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
  11. Seb Coe wins Strictly Come Dancing. Fresh from running a very successful Olympics Lord Coe becomes the oldest ever winner of the glitter ball dancing with Natalie Lowe.
  12. Maggie Thatcher will win an Oscar and die on the same day. I was going to say in the same year but I'm being bold and say that on 26 February Meryl Streep will win the best Actress award at the 84th Academy Awards and the Iron Lady herself will pass away in her 87th year.

Sunday 25 December 2011

Advent Calendar Day 25: Christmas Day

This year I've been doing an advent calendar of treats throughout the month of December. As this is the last day Christmas Day itself, I though I'd post it earlier just in case your children have rudely awoken you. But also something rather uplifting.

Saturday 24 December 2011

Advent Calendar Day 24: Christmas Eve

This year I've been doing a Christmas Advent Calendar of treats. So on Christmas Eve there can only be one treat in store a little Perry Como.

Friday 23 December 2011

Advent Calendar Day 23

During this run of Christmas treats there hasn't been that many adverts. But this year John Lewis produced one where the twist in the tale had me in tears ths first time I saw it.

Thursday 22 December 2011

Well the important one out of three ain't bad

The evening that Gary Lineker announced the 10 nominees I stuck my neck out and made my predictions.

  • 3 Rory McIlroy

  • 2 Alastair Cook

  • 1 Mark Cavendish

  • So I may have got the runners up wrong but at least I was right about the British public for a change.

    As for what I said about the runners up. I ruled out Darren Clarke making the top three as he wasn't the best golfer on the list, but like in 2006 he was the runner up on a purely emotional vote. I knew that Mo Farah would score highest of the two athletes, but I was expecting the hero of the Ashes to be battling with Cav for the top spot. From the cheers in the studio at the start of the evening I thought that was definitely the case.

    Thankfully it wasn't and Cav won. He started as he always starts a winning interview appearing to be shy. But soon got stuck in thanking the teams that help make him great who look after him and get him towards the line where he then sprints for the line.

    Surprisingly considering the success of British cycling in recent years the Manx Missile is only the third British cyclist to win BBC's Sports Personality of the Year following our other road race world Champion Tommy Simpson in 1965 and Sir Chris Hoy in 2008.

    However, Cav did point out that the success of British cycling is leading to more people taking to two wheels more often:

    "Now I see so many people out riding bikes, commuting to work or doing it as a hobby, they can see what it's like to ride."
    Sadly it comes in the year that the first cyclist to be killed on the roads of London had in the past been part of the Sports Personality of the Year shows. Gary Mason the boxer was a name I think was missing from the sports people who had lost their lives this year in the tribute just before the final award.

    ITV delete Tim Minchin #ITVfail

    One of the things that fits well into a Jonathan Ross special TV show so well is a song from Tim Minchin. A song from Tim will always make you think. His offering for this Christmas was no different.

    However, Peter Fincham ITV's director of television decided, after the show had been edited and was in ready to air format that Minchin's song wasn't to be included. To read what Tim thinks about the decision himself here. Here is the song in question:

    Reading the comments in question I find that I am not alone as a Christian who is not offended by the song. Indeed the amount of the bible story of Jesus life that Minchin incorporates into the song is something that may cause an US network concern because of the amount of religion that is in it.

    Yes it is satirical. Minchin is a comedian and a very good one. His comedy is of the clever variety and make you think as well as laugh. This song does just that. I think that two different people could very easily listen to this song and come away with different reactions. One would look into just what Minchin said about Jesus to see if it was actually true, or someone could turn around and just laugh at the irrelevance of Jesus and just enjoy their long weekend to celebrate his irrelevance thank you very much.

    If Peter Fincham is this concerned about possible complaints one wonders if producers will bother to send him tapes in advance if good stuff is not allowed to be aired. Will ITV be able to compete with Channel 4 and the BBC and others in cutting edge satire, humour and drama if their director of television is going to be this scared to cause offence.

    ITV once was seen as the more rebellious sibling in the TV family, but Fincham's self censoring if OTT and is actually causing me concern for just what freedom of speech ITV and other broadcasters will allow in the future. This is the wrong step over this excellent, IMHO, piece of satirical musical comedy.

    Advent Calendar Day 22 - Happy Birthday Dad

    Day twenty two of the advent calendar is the day that my Dad would always wake up to some extra cards and presents because it was his birthday. But it has been 5 years since he did so having passed on early in 2007. But my dad loved his big band music so today in a tribute to him that is where this advent calendar shall be visiting.

    Wednesday 21 December 2011

    Advent Calendar Day 21

    Well the days are winding down towards the end of this advent calendar. I hope you've enjoyed it so far. I think I've missed out on a little bit of rock so far. So to make amends I've called on the Boss to sort that out.

    Tuesday 20 December 2011

    Advent Calendar Day 20

    Christmas is getting closer and today's song actually was released in the first year that I actually did what the title of the song says. We did travel by road from Kingston to Stranraer (via an overnight stay in Glasgow). I'm sure this song did come on the radio

    Monday 19 December 2011

    Advent Calendar Day 19

    This next contribution is a song that is available to buy today that could be the Christmas number one. It is in the shops or available online so go buy it now, the money* goes to the Royal British Legion and SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association). Anyone who watched BBC's The Choir in October and November plus the Festival of Remembrance will know that these women have the REAL X-Factor this year.

    *50p will be donated from every digital single and 40p from every physical single.

    Sunday 18 December 2011

    Advent Calendar Day 18: Fourth Sunday in Advent

    The final Sunday before Christmas itself brings about another more sacred contribution to my Advent Calendar of delights. After the Ukrainian Carol of the Bells last week I've decided to use another of the Carols has some more unusual choral words. So as arranged by Malcolm Sargant based on the Polish original here's The Zither Carol:

    Saturday 17 December 2011

    Advent Calendar Day 17

    Maybe it is the nostalgia of no longer having to battle the London West End crowds to get to work, or even to get about work in the run up to Christmas, but when Chris Martin mentioned the lights on Oxford Street in last year's song I sort of did get all teary eyed. The people I worked with were a good bunch and we usually had a good let down the hair evening on a Sunday when we shut up the shop earlier together as a Christmas do.

    So today's offering is of course Coldplay

    Friday 16 December 2011

    Advent Calendar Day 16

    Each day I will continue to bring you a Christmas Youtube treat on my advent calendar. Of course back on day two I did say I wish I could have included a certain song from a certain film. Well I'm not going to let that Cherry slip through my fingers.

    Thursday 15 December 2011

    What is...are...the biblical definitions of marriage?

    Certain groups opposed to marriage equality will like to tell you that marriage is defined as one man and one woman. They are clearly missing out on how the men of God were told to view marriage.

    Now clearly marriage has been redefined since the days of the bible and churches don't insist on parts of the law of Moses such as the rape victim having to marry her rapist. God chosen people and the line that bore Jesus were a line of polygamists and men with concubines.

    Just saying. So why when they say that marriage is all about love and point to Leviticus as the reason that man and man can't be together and woman and woman can't be together that so often the marriage then is not about love. That the love often comes with a subsequent wife or concubine.

    Advent Calendar Day 15

    I was hoping that today's advent calendar was hoping be a treat for the Friends of Dorothy unfortunately I couldn't embed Judy Garland's original film version of this song. Instead I give you Katie Melua's version from The Two Ronnies a couple of years back.

    Wednesday 14 December 2011

    Advent Calendar Day 14

    Carrying onwards ever onwards towards the sound of sleigh bells one does wonder what all the good boys and girls are wanting for Christmas. A few years ago an antipodean songstress added her twist to this classic Eartha Kitt number. Christmas now just wouldn't be Christmas without Kylie

    Tuesday 13 December 2011

    Advent Calendar Day 13

    Another day and another surprise from the cannon of Christmas wonders. I always love it when there is a group or person you'd not expect to take a certain Christmas route. Today is one of those, it is this year's Christmas offering from The Killers yes you did hear that right and it is somewhat different from their usual style as well.

    Monday 12 December 2011

    Advent Calendar Day 12

    Carrying on with my little reveal of goodies via YouTube for the run into Christmas is a piece of music that appears in Home Alone, The West Wing and several films and TV shows. It is actually Ukrainian in origin and there are so many options I could have used to show you here, but I think that sometimes the simplest bare vocals are the best. So here it is.

    Sunday 11 December 2011

    Did Cameron wish for a furious Clegg?

    It isn't just me who was rather irate about David Cameron's handling of Europe early on Friday morning. It appears that Nick Clegg his Deputy is equally angry.

    Of course in 1992 the Prime Minister was special adviser to Norman Lamont on Black Wednesday when his reaction to an Exchange Rate Mechanism crisis was to up interest rates first from 10 to 12%, then to 15%, then back down to 10% and withdraw from the ERM. All in the space of 24 hours. Maybe if he had stayed around the table in Brussels for a few extra hours we would have had some diplomacy, but then maybe we didn't have a diplomat at the table. Two years later there was a Cabinet member training in the way diplomacy works in Europe, but he was sleeping in his flat in Sheffield at the time of the negotiations.

    So what was the problem that Cameron ran across, surely it couldn't have been the issue of more fiscal union of the Eurozone countries, that was something that his Chancellor George Osborne had been talking about for months. Although I doubt his talk of a two speed Europe was going to be us against the other 26. Or does that become a three speed Europe those in the Eurozone, the nine not in that yet and then us now?

    As for the autonomy of 'our' banking sector, the Tobin tax that was negotiated had a separate veto attached to it. So what additional threat was the Prime Minister protecting his friends in the city from, as this wasn't mentioned in the communique from the EU leaders.

    The Prime Minister said that he couldn't let 'our' banking sector suffer while he protecting the parts of Britain that we enjoy like the single market. HANG ON A SECOND! The single market was set up to allow freedom of movement of resources across the EU whether labour, trade, influence etc. So the Prime Minister to protect the single market is ring fencing one favoured indusrty and vetoing the rest of the 'single market' from making inroads or approaches to changing that dynamic. What if the Germans were to do the same with their car industry, or the Estonians with their internet business, or sacre bleu the French were to do the same with their viticulture. Bang goes the champagne at Tory conferences.

    How can the UK operate in a single market if he claims that it has the sole property rights to a certain industry? It doesn't work. Either you are in a single market where the industries can decide how and where they wish to operate or you are not. So how is the PM protecting a single market by doing this. What if a new industry wants to relocate to the UK, but the other EU countries that currently have parts of it are reluctant to let that go. The PM will argue that we are in a 'single market' but they will reply, but you have your banking industry, remember Brussels.

    The Prime Minister may well have backed himself into a corner in order to protect just one industry. He has decided to lift us out of the centre of the EU. As the Guardian reports Clegg fears as
    the "lonely man of Europe", with less influence, not more, for the City of London, less influence with the US and less foreign investment.

    If Cameron has indeed put the interests of the city above manufacturing and real jobs he will find it increasingly hard to rely on support from the Lib Dems. If the fall out from this decision to step outside of the decision making of Europe means that we have to try and survive on our own pulling power Cameron may realise that unlike in the time of some of his influential forebears, there is less of that than 100 or 200 years ago.

    Advent Calendar Day 11: Third Sunday in Advent

    Once again we reach a Sunday so my advent calendar will take on a more sacred feel for today. Christmas Eve traditionally the BBC goes to King's College Cambridge for Midnight Mass, traditionally I usually miss it being out at a service myself.

    But also by tradition this is usually one of the carols that they sing.

    Saturday 10 December 2011

    Advent Calendar Day 10

    Today's surprise behind the window was actually recorded just last month. Having seen the fresh chestnuts in Sainsbury's while we were checking out their range of products at their new store here in Bangor and the singer is appropriate for one reader who got a rather startling present at Christmas last year, he knows who he is.

    Friday 9 December 2011

    Fly the Red Flag O'er the Muppet Show

    You may have heard that Fox Business News called the upcoming Muppets movie if teaching communism to kids. I don't know how, where in these lyrics is there anything that can be misconstrued in such a way.

    It's time for Communism
    It's time to prove Marx right
    It's time for Marx and Engels on the Muppet Show tonight.

    It's time to raise the masses
    It's time for proletariat
    It's time to raise the red flag on the Muppet Show tonight.

    Why do we always come here
    I guess we'll never know
    It's like some kind of future
    Where the nobels have to go

    And now let's get things started
    Let's march on Washington
    It's time to get things started
    In the most socialist and communist even Marxist Muppetationist
    Fly the red flag o'er the Muppet Show!

    Of course don't just take my word for it here is the evidence that David Letterman dug up.

    I'm stepping outside, look after the pound for me - Cameron.

    During Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday David Cameron answered the first two questions like this:

    The British national interest means absolutely that we need to help resolve this crisis in the eurozone. It is freezing the British economy, just as it is freezing economies right across Europe. Resolving this crisis is about jobs, growth, business and investment right here in the UK. At the same time we must seek safeguards for Britain. That is the right thing to do.

    Then to Ed Miliband's first question:

    we will have the key aim of helping to resolve the eurozone crisis, and we believe that means European eurozone countries coming together and doing more things together. If they choose to do that through a treaty at 27 in which we are involved, we will insist on some safeguards for Britain—and, yes, that means making sure we are stronger and better able to do things in the UK to protect our own national interests. Obviously, the more countries in the eurozone ask for, the more we will ask for in return, but we will judge that on the basis of what matters most to Britain.

    Now today the answer to the crisis the one that Cameron said was about ' jobs, growth, business and investment right here in the UK' was one that he and he alone couldn't get involved with. Apparently it was over regulations of the banks that the problem arose.

    Now as a Lib Dem we praised Vince Cable on calling for more regulation of the banks well ahead of the crisis that kicked in. We shouted about the lift of regulations on banks under Labour. Indeed in our manifesto we said we would :

    Work through the European Union for stricter international regulation of financial services and banking.

    Because here is the thing Mr Cameron there is no such thing as a purely UK Bank bank anymore. They all have interests overseas, or are the UK Interest of an international bank. Therefore Cameron has thrown out the bath water, baby and all to spite his face. There will be discussions going on that the UK will be excluded from that will affect the UK Banking sector that we will not have any control over.

    As for the aim of securing the EU, these talks in Europe were to agree to explore the possibility of working together. The details have yet to be thrashed out. Mrs Thatcher even when she disagreed about the move to a Single Market did stay in there and thrash out the details she could live with over Maastricht and other Treaties. David Cameron has put the UK so far on the outside that we're not even sure if we'll get the jobs, growth, business and investment that he's looking for. We're not even sure if our largest trading partners the rest of the EU are going to be allow such investment.

    It's almost like the EU are sitting in Scotts camp on his return from the South Pole with 27 in the party as a blizzard blasts outside. But out into Hurricane Bawbag steps David Cameron with the words, "I'm stepping outside, look after the pound for me".

    Advent Calendar Day 9

    Keeping on finding new, interesting and fun Christmas related clips to fill up my advent calendar for you here is a little Muppet inspired, Queen related and nativity rich combination.

    You don't believe me?

    Watch this.

    Thursday 8 December 2011

    Hurricane Bawbag

    The Scots, and indeed those of us in Northern Ireland, are battening down the hatches in the face of horrendous storms. The locals have nicked named it Hurricane Bawbag, though the pesky Germans are calling the depression Friedrich.

    However, I'm hearing of blackouts in the North of Ireland (Donegal, Derry and Antrim) as well as Dumfries and Galloway, Clyde and Central Scotland. But it doesn't stop there being a little bit of humour to lighten the mood. The hashtag #HurricaneBawbag top trended not just in the UK but World wide.

    Although it appears to have blown away Sky News's atlas, because they say (see above) that "In Northern Ireland, Malin Head was hit by steady winds of 58mph and gusts of 80mph." Malin Head may well be wear generations of my ancestors lived, fortunately with a bank of earth sheltering them from the Atlantic winds. It may well be the most northern point in Ireland, but it is not in Northern Ireland.

    There are rumours circulating that Hurricane Bawbag may just be Sir Alex Ferguson still going through post-game analysis with his players after yesterday's Champion League performance. But it appears that the storm may also be making a bit for Olympic trampolining gold as it has been gathering equipment.

    Of course even when the lights are oot there is still a guitar that can be played and a Bob Dylan classic that is calling out to be rewritten.

    Update while the mainstream media shied away from using the term Eddie Mair did ask should he use in on the PM programme on Radio 4. In the words of a famous Scot Magnus Magnusson he however started but did not finish reading out the Wikipedia page entry. Apparently scrotum is not acceptable language in drivetime, though bawbag was.

    Philip Schofield also fell foul of trying to anglicise the term later in the evening. When he tweeted:

    Just looking through my timeline! Scotland! Are you ok? And who thought to call the hurricane ball bag?!!

    For hours he was getting people correcting him or telling him to get his Glasgow Accent out or check with Lorraine Kelly or John Barrowman on how to pronounce it.

    However, the SNP's Rob Gibson MSP did give Bawbag a namecheck on Scotland Tonight

    Advent Calendar Day 8

    It is yet another day on my advent calendar of goodies for this year. I found this and give you some amazing choreography. The title is the 12 gays of Christmas but as the original with poor sound quality said, not all these gets are necessarily of the gay persuasion but they obviously are members of this dance school.

    Wednesday 7 December 2011

    Doctor in Narnia?

    Well Christmas in recent years has meant a new stand alone episode of Doctor Who so will 2011 be any different? Of course not!

    Judging by the name of the episode and clips I have seen there may even be a little cross over with one of Belfast's favourite sons Clive Staples Lewis. So here is the prequel to The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe

    Advent Calendar Day 7

    Continuing my advent calendar of Youtube treats there are of course some advents that really seem to sparkle with the season and some that don't. I think this one from Marks and Spencer in 2007 hit the right balance.

    Tuesday 6 December 2011

    Advent Calendar Day 6

    Today's addition to my Advent Calender comes courtesy of Harry who is doing so well on Strictly Come Dancing and Dougie update, make that King Dougie, who is doing well on I'm a Celebrity but the words and music come from the Beach Boys.

    Monday 5 December 2011

    Five on the Fifth December 2011

    Sadly Stephen Chapman announced early last month that this was going to be the last month of his 5 on the 5th series. Check on the link to find out what the others have contributed to this grand finale. As for the theme he appears to have been a good predictor of weather systems as early this week he said it would be Winter Weekend on the weekend that a lot of the UK saw its first snow of winter.

    Here are my Five for the Fifth for December

    Last night my mother shouted out that it was snowing.
    It fitted the theme so it had to be captured.

    But in the morning I couldn't get a good shot of the snow
    it had all gone
    but there was other wintery conditions on the car

    It may have been cold in church on Sunday morning
    but it was looking the part

    We also popped into the Christmas shop

    People think that Old Saint Nick has a one day a year job
    but it appears he works weekends too
    at least for part of the year

    That's it for another month...indeed that's the last 5 on the 5th apparently. Do check by the rest and see what they have posted, if you haven't before also check through the links to previous months.

    Advent Calendar Day 5

    Continuing my advent calendar of YouTube treats I'm handing it over to Linus to explain what Christmas is all about.

    Sunday 4 December 2011

    Advent Calendar Day 4: Second Sunday of Advent

    Now I know it is only the first Sunday of Advent, but the four Sunday's are the four that lead up to Christmas Day. But with that being a Sunday it means that the first Sunday of Advent was last week.

    However, for my Sundays in the advent calendar I am going to be more religious in outlook. Doesn't mean the religious elements aren't going to be fun.

    So for a start I'm letting some silent monks perform Handel's Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah.

    Saturday 3 December 2011

    Don't let this woman near the White House

    Michele Bachmann claims to stand up for family. But here latest utterances show contempt for women and men across America. I'm not just talking about those who are LGBT but actually those that she wants them to marry.

    She was attending a cozy little Town Hall meeting only to be asked a question by Jane Schmidt who is head of her high school Gay Straight Alliance. The question was:

    "What would you do to help protect GSAs in high school and protect the LGSBT community?"

    The answer came back from the Republican chasing her party's nomination as Presidential Candidate:

    "All of us have the same civil rights...There shouldn’t be any special rights or any special set of criteria. We all have the same civil rights."

    The teen came back with a sharp follow up question:

    "So, why can’t same-sex couples get married?"

    The start of the congresswoman's response was shocking:

    "They can get married..."

    What? I though she was opposed to gay marriage saying things like "I do support a constitutional amendment on marriage between a man and a woman, but I would not be going into the states to overturn their state law."

    but she carried on:

    "...but they abide by the same laws as everyone else; they can marry a man if they’re a woman, or a woman if they’re a man."

    Ah that sadly is more like her.

    But hang on a cotton pickin' minute. What about those women who marry those gay men, or those men who marry those lesbians? What about them. Do they have rights to have a happy family life from the family loving Bachmann? Do they have the right not to have to deal with their spouse spending time at the gym or golf club or sewing circle or choir or whatever with their same sex friends without fretting about a relapse? Do they have the right not to have to deal the physiological issues of their spouse constantly denying who they are?

    This of course has nothing whatsoever to do with the considerations of the Lesbian or Gay individual that Bachmann is forcing to be Bisexual when they may not identify as that.

    Forcing people to hide their sexuality and go into a marriage of convenience for the sake of fitting in is what people did before we accepted that is was natural for some of us to be attracted to those of the same sex; and desire to form a permanent sexual bound with that individual.

    Surely Bachmann's proposal contravene the First and Eighth Amendments of the US Bill of Rights. The first is freedom of speech and expression, she is denying that expression through the right to assemble in the bedroom with the partner of their choice. The eighth surely inflicting this cruel and unusual punishment as excessive to be able to benefit from all the civil rights as she is advocating.

    Below is the exchange captured on YouTube and note the lack of overwhelming applause for Bachmann's comments.

    In which I agree with C of E on civil partnerships in church - sort of

    So the Church of England have said they won't hold civil partnership ceremonies in their churches. I say good.

    Now many of you who know that I am a campaigner for equal marriage may be a little shocked by opening line, but let me explain.

    The consultation in England and Wales is not as complete as the one the is drawing to a close in Scotland this week. It only has one option a civil partnership to be carried out by a religious celebrant. The Scots are looking at equalising marriage, allowing religious groups to carry out same sex marriage and looking at the necessity or not of maintaining civil partnerships if that is the case, as well as looking and the England and Wales proposals. You will notice as I do that Northern Ireland hasn't got any consultation on equal marriage of any type going on or pending.

    However, why do I agree with the Church of England on this? Probably not for the reason that the Bishops are in opposition but for the sheer hypocricy of the idea of civil partnerships being carried out on religious premises when a civil marriage is carried out by the same registrar at the registry office of other designated building. Of course the Government aren't proposing that civil marriage is to be carried out on religious premises that would be pointless. If people want a religious location to carry out their ceremony of commitment they want the hymns, prayers, religious lesson for marriage all interspersed within the ceremony. But with a civil partnership that cannot be the case, so it is nowhere near equal.

    You see for me as an LGBT person of faith a civil partnership in a church just isn't the same as what my other friends get. Also a civil ceremony should not be in a religious setting, if you want a civil ceremony its because for whatever reason you don't want a religious element. However, there are religious groups that want to be able to carry out same sex marriage. There is religious freedom in the proposals which allow religious groups to opt-in to the ability to carry out same-sex ceremonies. Because of that the Church of England is not opposing the proposals.

    I repeat.

    The Church of England are NOT opposing the suggestion of civil partnerships in religious buildings, they just don't see it as something that their church will buy into.

    Note before anyone criticises me for having a go at the good that Lynne Featherstone has achieved in getting this far, I'm not. On the day that she made her announcement at Lib Dem conference I did talk to her about these issues. She said she had done the best she could, seeing as the men who debated our coalition deal had forgotten to include anything in their deal about this issue and that she was aware it was far short of what the Lib Dem policy on the issue was and she'd carry on working for that to be fully implemented.

    Advent Calender Day 3

    Another treat for Christmas coming up. Not everyone will be wishing for a white Christmas especially those in the Southern Hemisphere, people like Tim Minchin.

    Friday 2 December 2011

    There once was a Effin lady on Facebook

    You may a recognised Saint and the brother of Saints Culain and Dairmid. You may have been an Abbot and Bishop of Ros-mic-Truin. You may also have written Vita Tripartita (The Life of Saint Patrick) about the patron Saint of the island of your birth and life. But the campaign to get the village in Ireland named after St. Eimhin has been deemed offensive by Facebook.

    The problem is that the Parish of Effin in County Limerick which Ann Marie Kennedy (pictured) tired to add as her home to her Facebook profile. All she got was the option of Effingham in Illinois or New Hampshire. Why she didn't get the one in Surrey which at least is in the same continent is another wonder.

    But she attempted to set up a Facebook page to get Effin recognised on Facebook was this was disallowed for being offensive. Therefore

    There was an lady who hailed from Effin
    But Facebook thought she was cursin'
    Because her hometown named for a Saint
    Was deemed offensive not quaint.
    Now they're worried over in Ecclefechan.

    Advent Calendar Day 2

    This Christmas I'm doing an online advent calendar of Youtube treats. There is one song from Love Actually that I really wanted to include but the embedding everywhere is disabled.

    So instead I leave you with this.

    A nice little addition I've found since it this, dedicated to all those who get caught dancing along or singing out loud to the music on their iPod or in their head.

    Thursday 1 December 2011

    World Aids Day 2011: Getting to Zero #WAD2011

    Today is World AIDS Day and the theme for 2011 is Getting to Zero. What that means is:

    • Getting to zero new HIV infections
    • Getting to zero discrimination
    • Getting to zero AIDS related deaths

    The first one is up to YOU know your status and your partners status and play it safe until you do. HIV can be passed on by heterosexual as were a homosexual sex, it can also be passed on by intravenous drug users sharing neddles. So be careful folks. Treat each new sexual partner with safety first, you won't know if they are affected on first contact.

    The zero discrimination about HIV and AIDS is harder to achieve when you get groups like Christians for a Moral American making comments like this about the recent hospitalisation of George Michael. Yes 30 years on we still have ignorant people who think that HIV and AIDS are gay diseases. I had a conversation in a chat room during the week about people not wearing a red ribbon. Some don't wear it because they feel it marks them out a either LGBT or having HIV themselves. Some of the people who thought that love it when a straight celebrity appears in the gay media (yes the naked issue of Gay Times is out) supporting the LGBT community by identifying with them, but they seem nervous about supporting those living with HIV so positively. Of course those that wear the ribbon are those living with HIV, their partners, family, friends and supporters. At least that is how it should be. 

    HIV is affected whole communities in parts of Africa. This is where the greatest number of AIDS related deaths occurs. All because the people there cannot afford the medications that many of those in the West take for granted these days. Many people can live successful lives living with HIV with their meds, but the companies who have produced the live enhancing and supporting meds for HIV are in it to make money and the Africa epidemic is something they are not prepared to do.

    Of course not every area of the world is prepared to met all three of the zeroes this year. But the focus should be on one that can be most effective to a region or nations situation. All three require education to the risks that are still there and the things that can be done to overcome the stigma, the risk and the ability for those living with HIV to remain strong.

    If you have a ribbon wear it with pride today. If you haven't see if you can find one (if not for this year for next December).

    Finally I wish I were down in London today to take part in the World AIDS Day Swish down Old Compton Street at 6pm. However, those folks at Gaydar radio put in a little practise earlier. Now radio isn't the best medium to share such an activity with everyone, so they YouTubed it here:

    Advent Calendar Day 1

    This year just like an advent calendar I'm going to give you a little Youtube treat each day to hopefully get you in to the mood. First up here is one band that I have used before at Christmas time but this time not with a song you'll know.