Monthly Archives: February 2012

Madder Than a Box of Frogs

I have been posting less frequently than often as I clear through a backlog of work and projects that were put on hold during the Christmas Lectures. I also turned off commenting on the blog as it was getting over-run with ranty comments. Hopefully those elements have decided to vent elsewhere.

Anyway I have decided to return to posting more weird and wonderful posts from the strangeness of human beliefs and they don’t gut much weirder than director Alejandro Jodorowsky. Have a look at this trailer for his 1973 movie, “The Holy Mountain.”

Now you know where, “madder than a box of frogs” comes from.



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Yes, Let’s Keep Religion Sidelined

Baroness Warsi is reported today in the Daily Telegraph that religion is being sidelined in the UK by rising militant secularization. I expect that these comments were in response to the High Court ruling to ban Christian prayers prior to council meetings in a Devon. The Tory peer is due to speak at the Vatican where it is reported that she will use her speech – the first to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy by an outside minister – to call for Europe to become more “confident in its Christianity”.

Now here’s the problem as I see it. Is the suggestion that we should be preventing the secularization of the UK by providing more support for religion and if so, which one? Are we really going to insist for example, that council meetings should have Christian prayers mandated in areas that are predominantly Muslim?

Or consider her statement “Our continent needs the zeal of a convert…. Not from discovering something new but rediscovering something which has underpinned our civilisations for centuries.” In that case, I think  all the pagan religions probably have a good claim for historical ownership of this continent’s spiritual belief system.

Baroness Warsi is a Muslim and she sends her child to Christian school. But I cannot see how the different religions will readily submit to an integration into one unified belief system. Typically religions subjugate, suppress, absorb or eradicate other competing belief systems as they evolve so it is not clear to me how this continent is going to achieve the balance Baroness Warsi is calling for. Not to mention tolerance for those individuals who do not believe in spirits, ghosts, angels and gods.

(As much as I’d like to read your comments, I am turning off this facility for the moment as this blog has become somewhat of a sounding board for bizzare commentators).

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Family Day

Yesterday, I returned to the Royal Institution to take part in the family day. I must admit that I was not too keen as I had just completed my first week back in full time lecturing, had a bunch of deadlines and would have preferred a peaceful saturday to deal with domestic things. Not to mention that it was -8c when I poked my nose out the door in the morning to catch an early train to London and the forecast was for worse to come. Still, I had promised the Ri that I would take part in the event where families can bring their children along to the Ri to listen to lectures, take part in demonstrations and look at the exhibits. Some of my Twitter followers had even tweeted that they were coming along so I felt I had to make the effort. I hadn’t even prepared a lecture but thought I would ad lib. I wasn’t even sure that anyone would turn up.

So I was really pleased to see about 500 families with children from tiny toddlers right up to teenagers. Some of them had even been to the actual Christmas Lectures but wanted to come back again. It was strange to be the centre of attention again. I signed autographs and had my picture taken with the kids. One young teenager had even memorized the periodic table and wanted to recite it back to me – which she did whilst being filmed by her proud parents. However, the sweetest child who stole my heart was  Rose who rushed up to me and handed me her drawing of the brain and a letter about how much she liked the lectures.

Me and my number one fan - Rose

The Christmas lectures had been great fun for everyone but I was unaware of the impact that they had had on the children. Of course, the ones who attended were excited by all the cameras and action but I did not appreciate that children at home would be inspired. The parents came telling me how grateful they were. It was deeply moving. And to think that I was not so sure about coming. Never again.


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