All entries for January 2006

January 18, 2006

Prostitution…

I read in the Metro today that the government is planning to change the sex laws so that up-to-three-person 'mini brothels' become legal, where currently it is only legal for individual prostitutes to practice in a single property.

Now, I really am torn on this issue. I do not condone prostitution at all. In a perfect scenario it would be great to get rid of it completely. Anything that leads to the increase of prostitution, which this change in the law may do, is not desirable.

However, we have to be realistic: eradicating prostitution completely will never happen. In this case the converse argument is extremely valid: in these small brothels prostitutes may well be protected by safety in numbers and thus live in better conditions.

Any thoughts?


January 17, 2006

Free speech?

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

Several times recently people have asserted that others are 'wrong' merely because they don't conform to the perceived majority views of western society. In the entry above the debate is centred on the expression of an anti-homosexual viewpoint by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, president of the Muslim Council of Britain. Although I do not personally agree with his standpoint I have no problem with him, or anyone else, expressing the convictions of their faith providing that no active persecution takes place. Yes, religion is entirely opinion and cannot be proved, but how can the reverse viewpoint be proved either? Yes, religious extremists contradict what we believe to be correct, but from their viewpoint our feelings are blasphemous, and who’s to say who is ‘right’?

Why should people be forced to limit what they say simply because it might offend others? If we follow that argument to its logical conclusion no debate should be allowed at all, because all possible arguments offend someone!

It seems to me that everyone is extremely hasty to proclaim the necessity for free speech, providing that those speaking agree with them personally or with the popular or politically correct concept.

By defending the rights of the persecuted in an attempt to promote free speech are we going too far and as a result merely creating new victims of persecution?

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Voltaire

January 16, 2006

Cycling etiquette

Writing about Times journo – what a clown! from George Riches: Complaints from a middle aged layabout

Having followed the recent debate on George's blog, as a keen cyclist I feel spurred to make some contribution.

As a driver, I get completely fed up with irresponsible cyclists: those who ride on the pavement, jump traffic lights, and change lanes without signalling, for example. As a cyclist who always follows the Highway Code, I don’t see why other cyclists feel like they have a right to persist in such an unhelpful, and sometimes illegal, manner. I learnt everything I needed to know from my cycling proficiency test, so why can’t everyone else? I also resent the fact that motorists often treat me badly on the road as a result of their preconceptions about cyclists which I feel I do my best to dissipate by being a responsible road user.

However, although there is no excuse for breaking the law, I do have some sympathy for cyclists worried about being knocked over. I have been involved in several near-misses caused by unobservant (or just plain reckless) car drivers. If I was of a more nervous disposition I may well have migrated towards the pavement before now. The roads are a dangerous place for cyclists, made more difficult by a lack of cycle lanes or, where they are present, a complete disregard of them by motorists.

It’s quite a chicken-and-egg problem. Bad cyclists make motorists resentful and less accommodating. But irresponsible drivers reduce cyclist’s confidence. Some might argue that as the more powerful and less vulnerable road-user, motorists should be more responsible than they currently seem to be, irrespective of the behaviour of the cyclist. Many would argue that making the roads safer for cyclists is not economically sound as there are so few of us. But equally would cycling increase enough as a result to justify the money and effort?
So what can we do about it???

A little story…
Justin was driving his car out of his drive, when, before he could see past his gatepost, a cyclist using the pavement ran into him, leaving the car with a dent in the side. Ironically, as a result of the impact the cyclist fell off his bike and into the road: the one place he was presumably avoiding!


January 10, 2006

Glitter's apparent stupidity

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4586460.stm

Did this occur to anyone else whilst hearing about Gary Glitter's child rape case:

Why, if you have underhand intentions towards children, move to a country which inflicts the death penalty if you get found out?!


January 09, 2006

Metro horoscopes

The horoscope for Cancer (my own star sign) one day last week in the Metro:

It's stressful. You have to stand up for yourself at work and put your foot down. The best way to cope is with plenty of fag breaks. So you don't smoke? Start.

Interesting…

I would hardly expect the Metro, in all its illustriousness, to feel obligated to promote healthy lifestyles, but this does seem rather irresponsible.

If I start smoking now and get ill later in life can I sue them?!


January 06, 2006

Are film–makers running out of ideas?

It occurrs to me that the numbers of really original films being released at the moment seems to be at a very low ebb. A vast majority of new releases are:

  • Remakes of old films:
    The Thomas Crown Affair, The Italian Job, King Kong, The Producers, Assault on Precinct 13, Amityville Horror, Dawn of the Dead, The Manchurian Candidate, War of the Worlds, Stepford Wives, Taxi
  • Sequels:
    Shrek, Legally Blonde, Spiderman, X-men, Pirates of the Caribbean, Charlie's Angels, Miss Congeniality, Oceans 12
  • Extensions of TV series or comic books:
    Charlie's Angels, Dukes of Hazzard, Starsky and Hutch, The Avengers, Daredevil, X-men, Thunderbirds, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Electra, The Punisher, Hellboy, Batman, Superman
  • Book adaptations:
    Bridget Jones, Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Memoirs of a Geisha, Brokeback Mountain, The Jungle Book, Lemony Snicket, Paycheck
  • Adaptations from computer games:
    Resident Evil, Doom, Tomb Raider

And many of these fall into more than one category! Further than this, many others (particularly RomComs) seem to be just a rehashing of the same basic story with slighty different particulars.

I'm not saying that these films are of no merit; far from it. It's just that film-based creativity seems to be decreasing, which is a shame.

Or do we have to look elsewhere? My labmate Vib says that the best film she's seen for a long time was Indian.


January 05, 2006

Ah, the joys of Stagecoach!

Was ours the only bus that got stranded in Kenilworth yesterday, or did Stagecoach fail to tell all of their drivers about the roadworks?...

Having, maybe up to a month ago, spotted several signs announcing the New Street road works in Kenilworth I was surprised to find our bus driver taking the normal term-time U1 route through the town. Lo and behold, when we came to New Street, it was indeed full of diggers and utterly impassable to buses. Thence followed a slow and awkward reversing process across the busy crossroads and a reversion to the X17 route. A delay of at leat 10 minutes.

Now, I found this experience amusing rather than irritating as I don't have to be at work at any specific time in the mornings, but how can Stagecoach have failed to notify their drivers of a complete change to their regular route?! Surely they must have been told about this, and if not, the signs have been so obvious that I've noticed them despite that I spend most of my time on the bus reading!


January 04, 2006

Biscuits: which should you dunk?

Follow-up to Tea: a very important debate from Musings of a blonde

As Rich suggested in a comment on my last entry, the dunking of biscuits in tea is also a hard-fought subject.

So what are your favourites? Mine are Hob-nobs!


January 03, 2006

Tea: a very important debate

In order to continue the serious-food-serious pattern than has characterised my recent entries…

I seem to have had an inordinate amount of conversations recently about the making of tea. The following questions seem the most controversial:

– Leaves or bags?
– Mug or teapot?
– Do you add the tea to the milk or the milk to the tea?
– When is the sugar added?
– Caster or granulated sugar (some people think I'm wierd using caster, but I think I'm justified because it dissolves better)?
– Do you have milk in herbal teas (my Dad insists on this)?
– What is the best proportion of water and milk to each teabag?


January 02, 2006

Are women from Venus, and does that make us less rational?

Someone said, I think in response to Lorna's entry about learning to debate properly, that he thought women are more likely to jump to conclusions in a discussion. This got me thinking…

I will be the first to admit that, on certain subjects that are close to my heart, I do become somewhat defensive. But is this widespread among women or, indeed, a solely female trait? And if it is, even to only a small extent, why do we do it? Is it because we are, historically, the underdogs and as such we have learnt to be defensive of our perceived weaknesses? Is this also true for other groups in society that have been similarly viewed?


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